Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{August 31, 2008}   BC Premier #1 – JFMcC

Now that I’ve made my way through all of the Canadian Prime Ministers, I feel a void. I actually got to quite like learning a bit about Canadian history every Sunday. So, I’m now taking on a more daunting task – I’m going to write a blog posting every Sunday about a British Columbia Premier1. It’s more daunting because I didn’t grow up in BC, so I’ve never heard of the vast majority of BC Premiers before2. Plus, there’s been more BC Premiers than there has Canadian Prime Ministers, so this series will be longer. But I think I’m up for the challenge!

OK, first up is The Honourable John Foster McCreight – the first Premier of the Province of British Columbia.

John Foster McCreight Name John Foster McCreight
Born: November 18, 1827 in Caledon, County Tyrone, Ireland
Died: November 18, 1913 (hmm.. he appears to have died on his birthday!)
Party: none
Held Office: November 13, 1871 – December 23, 1872
  • he was a lawyer, called to the bar in 1852
  • Ireland –> Australia –> San Fran –> Victoria, BC
  • when he moved to Victoria in 1860, it was part of the “Colony of Vancouver Island;” by 1866, the Colony of Vancouver Island and the Colony of British Columbia joined forces
  • evidence is kind of sketchy on his martial situation – maybe he had a scandalous affair in Australia that caused him and his wife to leave there, or maybe he married someone from San Fran – they don’t seem to be sure. But the 1881 Census does list him as married to an Elizabeth Ann McCreight, although little seems to be known about the 411 on her.
  • he was heavily involved in the Anglican church and the Masons – involvement which “seem[s] to have been motivated by a mixture of faith and ambition.”4
  • after BC joined Canadian Confederation on July 20, 1871, he became the Attorney-General, then ran in the first election and won the seat for Victoria, and was then chosen as the first Premier of BC
  • he was described by a colleague as, among other things, “utterly ignorant of politics;”4 not exactly a rousing endorsement for a politician
  • best line in his biography: “he was firmly opposed to responsible government, believing his fellow British Columbians too immature to carry the burdens of democracy”4
  • he lost a vote of nonconfidence in 1872, so he resigned
  • he was appointed as a justice in the Supreme Court of BC, where he worked until 1897, and then he went back to the UK

In summary, on his trip around the world from the UK to Australia to North America and then back to the UK, he took a pit stop in Victoria to become our first provincial premier. The end.

Image credits: Accessed from Wikipedia. In the public domain. w00t!

1For my American readers, the “Premier” is the head of the government for a province or territory. Sort of like your state governors. And provinces and territories are like states. And Canada is that giant country just north of you.
2Of course, I grew up in Ontario and didn’t learn about the vast majority of Ontario premiers. But I digress.

3Wikipedia, the reference of champions
4Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

Kalev says:

I was nearly certain our first Premier was Amor de Cosmos… am I crazy? michael and I joke about that all the time. Admit it: you’re doing this entire series just so you can focus on him.

Oh god damn… or FSM damn… he was the second. Now I feel stupid. This is such an unfamiliar feeling. 😛

Kudos for doing BC and not Ontario. I’m sure Sarah is devastated but hey, BC politics is much more interesting.

Canadian territories are probably more like DC than actual states. Or maybe more like Puerto Rico. Which is a territory of the US. Although Canadian territories actually have representatives who can vote–just not very many. I’ve always found the whole territory/province divide weird, artificial, and unfair to those up north. It’s like “Hey you 2nd class province, you!”

I think you mean evidence was kinda sketchy on his MARITAL situation. His martial situation would be more about whether he was dishonourably discharged or not, or whether he was “one of those” in the Navy. 😛

Your footnote number for “utterly ignorant of politics” is 4, even though it’s your third reference. It matches the 4 for the “burdens of democracy” quote. You can feel free to edit this paragraph out of my comment when you fix that.

All that being said, these days for sure I might actually think that someone who is ignorant of politics might be a very great politician. 🙂

Stacia says:

I was glad you put footnote #1 in there. I was going to ask if they were like governors. I was, however, already aware that Cananda is to the North of us. I’m probably in the minority there though.

Beth says:

@Kalev – You and Michael joke about Amor de Cosmos being the first Premier? Huh?

Why would I do Ontario? I’ve lived in BC for 8 years (8 years today, actually!) and have no intention of leaving, so it’s weird that you’d even suggest that I would.

Thanks for noticing the typo on “marital.” Fixed now. But I’m not going to edit that our of your comment – that’s not how blogs work. Don’t you want props for catching errors?

And speaking of errors, the “utterly ignorant of politics” quotation does, in fact, come from reference 4. Reference 3 (i.e., Wikipedia) is quoting it from my reference 4, and I’m quoting it from the original. The problem with the references is that I haven’t actually quoted anything from Wikipedia (it’s just a general reference, rather than a source of a direct quotation). I must have had a quotation and then removed it, and forgot to renumber.

@Stacia – LOL! I think you are probably right on that!

Kalev says:


Re footnotes: okay, now they’re completely cacked up. I see three 4s listed and no 2 or 3. I don’t know if it’s my browser or what but it’s coming out utterly confusing on this end.

Re Ontario: well sure, you’ve lived much more recently in BC, but you grew up in Ontario and have spent, currently, far more time there, so I thought maybe you’d do Ontario premiers. As in, if you had, I wouldn’t have been surprised, because you and Ontario have a history, as much as you might find that disturbing in the same way I find my history with Surrey disturbing. *grin*

Re Amor de Cosmos: michael and I just laugh about the fact he changed his name to “Lover of the Universe” and that it was his actual name during his premiership. In doing so, I thought we were laughing about the 1st BC premier but it turns out I was wrong (I know you are shocked that I might be proven wrong about anything *grin*) and he’s the 2nd.

Re how blogs work: I sort of think of it as blogs working however their owners/writers/authors want them to work and no, I don’t need kudos for catching typos. I’m never sure if I should say anything or not, or make it public or not. So I don’t mind if people edit out stuff like that because I could have chosen just to email them (you, in this case) and then nobody but them (you) would know I had caught something.

It’s a funny situation because in a way, how gives a flying cow? And yet in another, I can see it being totally important/appreciated. Like I personally would probably appreciate it to a certain point and then I’d get frustrated and feel like I was being constantly corrected and having all this attention drawn to situations where I’d simply made a small error that didn’t really impact the content of what I was writing. And I know you’ve said you appreciate the heads ups when I catch something but honestly, I have more than enough things I’m pathetic over that I have zero need to add “Hey did you see how many typos on Beth’s blog I caught in the last week?!” to the list. *smile* Everything in moderation, I guess. Except sex–sex I can do with in more than moderation. 🙂

Beth says:

Hmmm… not sure how citation number 2 disappeared, but I’ve re-added it. WordPress has a button for “insert” where it inserts the time/date when you made the insert into the code (and it appears as underlined so you can see what’s been added). There’s not any 3s, as I said above I must have cut out whatever I was quoting from #3. I’m just too lazy to renumber all the 4s to 3s. And yes, there are three quotations from 4.

I didn’t know that A d C changed his name to that (haven’t read anything about him yet for next Sunday’s posting).

Re: how blogs work. I probably should have said, “how I think blogs should work.” I think people are too afraid to admitting mistakes and too quick to revise history. When I make a mistake, I have no problem showing that it’s been corrected. (Also, did you write “how gives a flying cow?” or was that a typo? I hate when I have typos when I’m editing things but I seem to do it all the time. I know, shocking, me committing a typographical error!)

Kalev says:

Yes, I wrote “who gives a flying cow.” I’m trying not to use “fuck” so much. 😛

[…] over as Premier of BC after McCreight resigned due to a vote of non-confidence in […]

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