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Ernest Charles Manning was born at Carncluff, Saskatchewan in 1908 and was raised on a farm in the Rosetown area. He attended William Aberhart’s Prophetic Bible Institute in Calgary in 1927, and upon graduation in 1929 became a permanent resident of Alberta.
In 1935, Mr. Manning entered the Alberta Government’s cabinet as provincial secretary; at 26, the youngest cabinet minister in British parliamentary history since William Pitt the Younger. When he became premier in 1943 at the age of 35, he was the youngest first minister since Pitt.
He served continuously for 33 years as a minister of the Crown, 25 of those years as Premier. A consistent advocate of economic, social and political reform, Mr. Manning presided over a generation of social and economic change. This included the formative years of Alberta’s Oil and Gas Development Program, which led to the province’s role as a major source of natural resources.
Besides serving as Premier of Alberta, Mr. Manning also held a number of other positions such as minister of trade and industry, minister of mines and minerals, provincial treasurer, attorney general and president of the executive council.
In 1967, his views on national politics were published in a book entitled Political Realignment, a Challenge to Thoughtful Canadians. His book called for the development of a distinctly new political ideology, combining humanitarian concern with the dynamics of a responsible free enterprise society.
Upon retirement from public office in 1968, Mr. Manning established his own research and consulting firm, Manning Consultants Limited, in Edmonton.
In 1970 he was appointed to the Canadian Senate where he participated in numerous studies and inquiries on matters of national public policy.
Senator Manning was the chairman of the board of Fluor Canada Limited. He also served as a director of Stelco Inc., Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, McIntyre Mines Limited, Melcor Developments Ltd., Burns Foods Ltd., and O.P.I. Ltd.
He was the recipient of a number of honours and awards including:
- Honorary Degree (LL.D.) Doctor of Laws, University of Alberta 1948
- Honorary Degree (D.U.C.) Doctor of the University of Calgary, University of Calgary 1967
- Honorary Degree (LL.D.) Doctor of Laws, McGill University 1967
- Honorary Degree (LL.D.) Doctor of Laws, University of Lethbridge 1972
- Member of the Canadian Privy Council (P.C.) 1967
- Companion of the Order of Canada (C.C.) 1970
In addition to his long and varied political and business career, Mr. Manning was known internationally as an active Christian layman. He directed and was heard weekly on a national religious radio program, the oldest and most far-reaching broadcast of its kind in Canada.