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UBC Theses and Dissertations

British Columbia 1972-75 : the genesis of a two-party system Harris, Christopher C.


The purpose of this thesis is to posit an explanation for the rather spectacular reversal of Social Credit fortunes in British Columbia during the 1972-75 period and the concomitant creation of the province's present two-party system. A detailed examination of the political events of the period was undertaken in an attempt to determine what had taken place and in what order. The research involved analysis of electoral statistics and press clippings, personal interviews and the traditional review of available academic literature. The thesis rejected a monocausal explanation of Social Credit's 1975 electoral victory. Research indicates that Socred leader Bill Bennett was able to capitalize on "the widespread -and largely self-created - disenchantment with the NDP government and position his party to be seen by the public as the only credible alternative. Contrary to popular perception, the post-1972 version of Social Credit was not a "coalition" in the political sense. Rather, Liberal and Conservative elites recognized Bennett's success in projecting Social Credit as the only realistic alternative to the NDP and joined him to protect their legislative seats and further their respective political careers.

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