Ernest C. Manning

1908- . Premier of Alberta and radio preacher. He grew up in W Saskatchewan. Hearing William Aberhart broadcasting from Calgary, he proceeded to the Prophetic Bible Institute and was its first and most distinguished graduate. In the 1935 Social Credit landslide in the Alberta provincial election, Manning was not only returned to the legislature, but was made a cabinet minister. On the death of Aberhart in 1943, Manning assumed the office of premier. Early showing signs of competence and integrity, Manning was the beneficiary of the Alberta oil strikes of the late forties and early fifties. He managed the oil boom well, and as provincial coffers overflowed he channeled much of the money into an enlightened program of social welfare. People so often did not vote for Social Credit; they voted for him. During all these years Manning conducted the weekly nationwide “Back to the Bible” broadcast. In his sepulchral tones he preached the Gospel, expounding prophecy with decreasing emphasis on its predictive element and increasingly using the prophetic passages as a basis for calling the nation to repentance and revival. In all of this Manning was an expression of the western prairies revival movement of the hungry thirties, with its rather sectarian attitude and compelling worldwide missionary vision.

When he retired from politics, Manning quickly became a member of Canada's economic establishment, his prestige readily opening directorships in the country's major corporations. But when he retired an era ended. Although his successor, Harry Strom, was equally evangelical, represented Scandinavian Pietism, and was lay moderator of the Evangelical Free Church, the exciting days of the mid-thirties had run their course. Social Credit was roundly defeated eighteen months after Manning retired.