Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The 5th Premier of the Province of British Columbia – Robert Beaven.

Name Robert Beaven
Born: January 20, 1836 in Staffordshire, England
Died: September 18, 1920 in Victoria, BC
Party: like it’s 1899
Held Office: June 13, 1882 – January 29, 1883
  • family moved from England to Toronto because he dad, the Reverend James Beaven, received an academic appointment there
  • came from Toronto to BC. Like many people, he came to BC because of the gold rush.
  • became a businessman in Victoria (specifically he was a “commission agent, the local agent of the Florence Sewing Machine Company, and, with a partner, a retail clothier and outfitter.”1)
  • became the secretary of Amor De CosmosConfederation League (which was pro-Colonies of BC & Vancouver Island joining Confederation)
  • upon the colonies joining Canada in 1871, he was elected to BC Parliament
  • served in the cabinets of De Cosmos and Walkem
  • he was accused of “corruption and incompetence” (although an investigation by a royal commission found no proof of this), and was criticized for such things as not opening up land for settlement quickly enough, mismanaging Native land policy, running up provincial debt,  the escalating cost of the Esquimalt dock (apparently mainlanders didn’t like how dominant the Island was and Islanders were pissed off that transcontinential railway was going to exclude them)
  • became the Premier in 1882 with one of those minority governments where there’s no political parties and majority/minority status depends on how many MLAs say they are with ya, and how many say they are against ya.
  • he offered to make Princess Louise the Queen of Vancouver Island during a visit to BC.  Louise was the 6th child of Queen Victoria and wife of then-Governor General of Canada, the Marquess of Lorne.  Seeing as technically Louise’s mom, Queen Victoria, was Queen of all of Canada, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have gone over too well if Beaven had separated Vancouver Island from Canada and made Louise the Queen, even if he could have.
  • brought down by a non-confidence vote in 1883
  • in total, he served 23 years in the legislature until he lost an election in 1894
  • was also the mayor of Victoria from the 1892-1894 and 1996-1898
  • after being out of the legislature for 4 years, he was asked by then-Lieutenant-Governor Thomas Robert McInnes to form a government after McInnes dismissed then-Premier John Herbert Turner.  Other MLAs were pissed, refusing to support a Beaven government and that pretty much went nowhere.

In summary, he was a politician for a long time. Then he wasn’t.

Image credits: Accessed from Wikipedia. In the public domain. Boo-yah!


Wikipedia, the double-shot, half-sweet, extra hot Venti of references.
1Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

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