Social Credit and Reform empty promises and authoritarianism.
Stephen Harper of Calgary says he strongly suspects PR stands mainly for public relations as far as the party is concerned, not proportional representation. 'My observation of Reform is that when it comes to institutional change they are beginning to remind me of Social Credit,' he says. 'There's a lot of talk, but I'm not convinced of any commitment to it. Social Credit governed Alberta for 35 years without ever instituting its institutional reform ideas'
A couple points on this quote, but they all credit Stephen Harper for his honest thinking sometimes (when it suits him). He can be right in ways that transcend himself, even. The comparison of the Reform party to Social Credit is fair, considering Preston Manning and Stockwell Day (founders and leaders of the Reform Party) had parents involved in the Social Credit party in Alberta (Preston's dad was Premier of Alberta under Social Credit). Both parties have similar protest/populist roots in Alberta, as well.
First, such an conflation between Reform and Social Credit is true for when Harper led the Reform-Alliance into power, thus abandoning many of his more idealistic promises. Such as his promise to never appoint a Senator, create an elected or abolish the upper chamber, never take a luxurious Parliamentary pension, expel party members who procure a pension, restore power to individual MPs, etc. I think another Harper quote is appropriate here.
Now Reform operates like any other party. There's no difference... Reform just found it couldn't change the system, so now they've changed to fit the system.
BC Report - Principle vs. the Porkbarrel --29/06/1998
Second, Reform-Alliance-Conservative party in power is behaving horrifyingly similar to how Social Credit behaved in Alberta. William Aberhart, the first Social Credit Premier was dubbed 'The Dictator of Alberta'. Under that government, unprecedented media restriction and other unconstitutional legislation was introduced - they was eventually struck down by the courts. For example, a couple bills described, and thanks to Emily Dee, I can conveniently quote Time magazine from October 18, 1937 on this subject:
The first bill would force Alberta newspapers to give as much as one full page to presentation of the Government's views verbatim at any time upon demand, is entitled An Act Ensuring Publication of Accurate News and Information. The second would arbitrarily increase taxation of Alberta banks $2,000,000 per annum, and the third makes this possible by classifying "banks" as "credit institutions," thus making them liable to measures which under Dominion law could not be applied to them as banks. All three were so extraordinary that the King's Lieutenant-Governor refused to sign and sent the bills to Lord Tweedsmuir, the Governor General who in legal fiction is "the Person of the King in Canada."I think you know where this is going. This is quite similar to Harper's unmatched in Canadian history governmental secrecy and media restriction. Not only that, similar to Social Credit, Stephen Harper's Conservatives actions and legislation have been numerous times ruled either illegal or unconstitutional. Just to name some of the top of my head: the abolition of the Canadian Wheat Board, the multiple dealings with Omar Khdar, one convicted count of electoral fraud (and two looming), the dealings with Attawapiskat and arbitrary minimum sentences.