Ken Sweigard

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Ken Sweigard (born 1919) is a Pentecostal evangelist from Grande Prairie, Alberta, and politician who led the Social Credit Party of Canada from 1983 to 1986.

In the 1980 election, Social Credit's five remaining Members of Parliament (all from Quebec) were defeated. The party had not had any MPs from its old base of Alberta and British Columbia since 1968.

Sweigard first ran as a Social Credit candidate in the 1980 federal election. Standing in Peace River, Alberta, he came in fifth place with 462 votes. He placed behind the three major parties and the candidate for the Rhinoceros Party of Canada.

Sweigard first sought the party’s leadership in 1982, when he lost to Martin Hattersley. Sweigard attended the leadership convention dressed as U.S. president Abraham Lincoln, wearing a top hat and carrying a walking stick. His entourage, dressed in 1860s style, held placards reading "Free the Slaves" and chanted "Free the economic slaves", a reference to the social credit theory of monetary reform and opposition to the charging of interest on borrowed money.

Hattersley resigned as leader in June 1983 when the party would not expel three outspoken party members from Alberta who had been accused of anti-Semitism.

Sweigard was elected leader by means of a telephone conference call of 19 party members, with 9 votes to 5 votes for party vice-president Richard Lawrence.

As leader, he ran in the 1984 election in Timiskaming, placing last with 151 votes. After stepping down as leader, he ran again in the 1988 election in Peace River, where he came in last in a field of six candidates with 354 votes.

Social Credit fared no better elsewhere: none of its members won election under Sweigard's leadership. The party won only 16,659 votes nationwide in 1984, and 3,407 in 1988. The 1988 election was the last in which Social Credit stood as an official party.

Sweigard stepped down from the party leadership in 1986, and was replaced by another evangelist, Harvey Lainson.

The party failed to field the required minimum of 50 candidates in the 1993 election and its candidates were forced to run as independents.


Preceded by:
Martin Hattersley
National Leaders of Social Credit
Succeeded by:
Harvey Lainson

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