Not To Be Trusted With Knives

A.E.B. Davie, the 7th Premier of the Province of British Columbia.

Name Alexander Edmund Batson Davie
Born: November 24, 1847 in Somerset, England
Died: August 1, 1889 (only 41 years old) in Victoria, BC
Party: none
Held Office: March 29, 1887 – August 1, 1889
  • Davie Street in Vancouver is named after him
  • immigrated to BC with his dad and three brothers in 1862 (his mom, a brother and a sister stayed behind in England)
  • was the first person to receive his entire law education on Vancouver Island, had a practice on Vancouver Island and in the Cariboo
  • served as a law clerk to the Legislative Assembly (1872-187) and got a taste for politics
  • was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1875 in the Cariboo, because there was no seat available in his actual home, Victoria – he faced some opposition there for not being a local, but got support from Premier Walkem
  • he was sort of a supporter of the government (although he only voted with Walkem on issues where he agreed, so really he was more like an independent), but then, when Walkem went down in non-confidence, in typical BC-fickle fashion, Davie jumped ship to the Opposition, supporting the new Premier, A.C. Elliot. Of course, since there are still not political parties at this point, this kind of thing was relatively common and I’m sure no one referred to Davie as “an attractive dipstick” for crossing the floor
  • was asked by Premier Elliot to be the provincial secretary, but then lost his seat in a by-election in 1877 (apparently they needed to do a by-election for this, although it’s not clear to me why this is so); at this point, he went back to his law practice full-time
  • regained a seat in the Legislative Assembly, this time in Lillooet, in 1882 and became the Attorney General under Premier Smithe; claim to fame: went to Ottawa to argue before the Supreme Court of Canada that the provinces have the right under the British North American Act to regulate the sale of booze; also, he cleaned up a bunch o’laws that were all messy and hapharzard after the gold-rush era
  • in 1887, Smithe died and Davie was asked to be the Premier, which he accepted while also keeping the position as AG
  • within months he fell sick and went to California to “recuperate”
  • provincial secretary John Robson ran the government at this time, with Davie wrote letters to Robson to express his views on current issues
  • returned to BC in 1888, but died of tuberculosis, which was apparently referred to “phthisis,” while still in office in 1889; phthisis, pronounced TIE-sis, incidentally, is my new favourite word
  • spolier: his brother, Theodore, will be featured in my BC Premieral series soon, as he becomes the Premier in 1892

In summary, he spend the majority of his time as Premier in absentia, then died of TB; also, he’s a big part of the reason that provinces have different liquor laws.

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

Wikipedia, the reference that dreams are made of
Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

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