Not To Be Trusted With Knives











Wow, I’ve been a total slacker in writing entries on my BC Premiers series lately.  I haven’t actually written one in more than a month.  I blame the economy. And the prorogation of Parliament.

Anyway, I’m back.  And I’m back with the eleventh Premier of the province of British Columbia – Charles Augustus Semlin.

Charles Semlin.png Name Charles Augustus Semlin
Born: 4 December 1836 near Barrie, Upper Canada
Died: 2 November 1927 in Cache Creek, British Columbia
Party: none
Held Office: 15 August 1898  – 27 February 1900.
  • had a lot of different types of jobs:
    • quit his job as a school teacher in Barrie, Upper Canada to try his hand a prospecting in the gold rush, but, not being very good at it, he became a packer (like, he carried other people’s stuff for them), followed by managing a roadhouse and ranch
    • I guess he liked running a roadhouse, ‘cuz then he bought one (1865)
    • But I guess he liked being a rancher more, ‘cuz then he traded the roadhouse for a ranch (1870)
    • in addition to ranching, he was the first postmaster in Cache Creek, became a school board member, became an MLA and got Cache Creek a school, which turned out to be controversial and closed in 1890; but then he became a school trustee for the school district created in the region after the school he got started was shut
  • he doesnt’ seem to have been a very good politician:
    • his entry to provincial politics in 1871 was kind of messed up: he was tied for third in a three-member riding, so the returning officer put their names in a hat, drew Semlin’s name and declared him the third MLA for the riding. Awesome.
    • he ran unsuccessfully in the next two elections (1875 and 1878), but then won his seat back in 1882 and retained it for the next four elections (1886, 1890, 1894, and 1898)
    • 1894: became leader of the opposition after the election of 1894, although he was widely recognized as being rather meh as a leader. Yes, meh is a word.
    • 1898: Premier Turner failed to win a clear majority, so Lieutenant Governor Thomas Robert McInnes kicked out Turner and asked Beaven to form a government. Sure Beaven didn’t even win his own friggin’ seat, but this didnt’ appear to matter to McInnes.  Not-so-surprisingly, Beaven couldn’t get enough support to form a government (did I mention that he didn’t even win a seat?), so McInnes asked Semlin, being the ineffectual leader of the opposition from the last government, if he could form a government.  And Semlin did, so then he was the Premier. Some other dudes were trying to put together a provincial Liberal party (remember, they still didn’t have political parties at this point), but they didn’t have it together yet and so weren’t asked to form the government.
    • Semlin was, did I mention, a pretty meh leader and that, combined with infighting within his Cabinet and Semlin’s attempts to initiate a bunch of reforms (people hate that) meant for a short lived (18 month) premiership for Semlin.
    • A speech given by his Attorney General, Joseph Martin, ended in a brawl that had to be broken up by the cops and Semlin demanded Martin’s resignation. So Martin was pissed at Semlin and joined the opposition.  This resulted in Semlin receiving a vote of non-confidence, but asked Lieutenant Governor McInnes for a some time to prove he could regain the confidence of the house, which he did by getting some opposition ministers to to join him. But the McInnes, who apparently liked doing weird things, ignored Semlin’s newfound confidence and asked Martin to form a government.  Which pissed off the MLAs, so they voted Martin out in no-confidence.  So, basically, it was a really big shit show. So they had an election in 1900 (in which Semlin didn’t run) and, when the dust cleared, Dunsmuir became the next Premier.
    • Semlin won a by-election in 1903, but then didn’t run in the 1903 general election. Then ran and lost in 1907.
  • And now a tidbit about his personal life:
    • Although he didn’t marry, he raised a daughter, ironically named Mary.  Her mother, according to the 1881 census, was a First Nations woman named Caroline Williams, who lived with Semlin and used the last name Semlin, but was not married to him.

In summary, he had a lot of jobs, he was a meh politician and his daughter was a bastard.

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

Wikipedia, the reference that has a grand total of seven sentences about Charles August Semlin.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online



{December 7, 2008}   My Best Excuse Yet

So, Sunday is the day that I’m supposed to write my entry in my BC Premier series1.  And I know you are dying to hear about all the high jinks2 that Charles Augustus Semlin, the 11th Premier of BC, got up to during his crazy3 time in office. But I have a very good excuse as to why I’m not writing my entry today:

IMG_4374 by you.

My wrist hurts.  In fact, it’s hurt since last week’s hockey game, when I think I must have fallen on it funny.  And, since it’s my right hand that hurts – the hand I write with, the hand I mouse with – I haven’t really rested it during the past week. And now, after tonight’s hockey game4, it hurts more.  So I’ve made the drastic move of wrapping it in a tensor bandage. And I have plans to sleep with an ice pack (which I also did last week).  And I’m typing this with one hand.

And thus, I am not doing tonight’s scheduled entry in my BC Premier Series.  But that’s a pretty good excuse, right?

1And I do at least 50% of the time.
2I have no idea if there were high jinks, as I have not yet done my blog posting on him.
3Similarly, I have no idea the level of craziness, if any, of his time in office.
4Which we won 4-0, btw.



After a break from the series last week due to my attendance at the pig party, this week’s installment of my BC Premierial series brings us the 10th Premier of the Province of British Columbia: John Herbert Turner.

John Herbert Turner.png Name John Herbert Turner
Born: May 7, 1834 in Claydon, Suffolk, England
Died: December 9, 1923 in Richmond, England
Party: none
Held Office: 4 March 1895 to July 1898
  • was not Canadian Prime Minister John Turner.
  • 1856: came to British North America from England (first to Halifax, NS then to Charlottetown, PEI)
  • 1860: went back to England to marry, Elizabeth Eilbeck, who he then brought to PEI
  • July 1862: reached Victoria, BC, having been attracted to the west by the gold rush, but decided to work as a merchant, which was what he had done out east, rather than as a miner, as was his original intention
  • 1869: was appointed to the tariff commission
  • 1872: was named as a trustee of the Ogden Point Cemetery
  • 1876 to 1879: served as an alderman
  • 1879: acclaimed as mayor of Victoria, a position he served in until 1881
  • 1882: after many years of involvement in the militia, he retired with the rank of lieutenant-colonel
  • June 1882: went to England for an extended stay
  • July 1886: entered BC provincial politics by winning an election as an MLA, representing Victoria City
  • 8 August 1887: became minister of finance and agriculture under Premier A.E.B. Davie, posts he would retain under Premiers Robson and the other Davie
  • 4 March 1895: became Premier when Davie resigned
  • Apparently, he was not so good with money: “Throughout the period that Turner was minister of finance (1887–98), the provincial budget was in deficit each year and by the time he left office the gross public debt had climbed to nearly $7,500,000, a sevenfold increase from 1886.”1
  • He was also criticized for using his political position for personal gain, being involved in a number of business enterprises during his time as Premier; for being at the “beck and call of powerful corporations”1 and for refusing fair representation of the mainland (especially Vancouver)
  • He lost power in July 1898 in a controversial election – the election appeared to be a draw between Turner’s non-party government and the non-party opposition; Lieutenant Governor Thomas Robert McInnes demanded Turner’s resignation, which he didn’t want to give at first, but then gave, making him the leader of the Opposition against Premier Semlin’s government
  • June 1900: was reinstated as the minister of finance and agriculture under the newly elected Premier Dunsmuir
  • 3 September 1901: resigned from provincial politics and became the agent general for BC in England, a post at which he served until he was removed in 1915 to be replaced by recently retired BC Premier Sir Richard McBride, who died in 1917, at which time Turner was re-appointed to this post; Turner then resigned from this post in 1918
  • 9 December 1923: died in Richmond, England

In summary, he was bad with money, seems to have been using his political power for personal financial gain. Otherwise, pretty boring.

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

References:
Wikipedia, the reference that has virtually no information about John Herbert Turner either
1Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online



{November 9, 2008}   BC Premier#8 – John Robson

The 8th Premier of the Province of British Columbia.

Nice beard.

Nice beard.

Name John Robson
Born: March 14, 1824 in Perth, Ontario
Died: June 29, 1892 in London, England
Party: none
Held Office: August 2, 1889 – June 29, 1892
  • Robson Street in Vancouver is named after him (as is Robson Cove in Burrard Inlet and Robson, a town in Kootenays)
  • 1859: moved from Ontario, where he was a merchant, to the Colony of BC, to try to capitalize on the Fraser Valley Gold Rush, leaving behind his wife, Susan, and their 2 kids (Susan and the kids didn’t move to BC to join him until 19641864)
  • apparently he sucked at prospecting, so instead he helped his brother, Ebenezer, a minister, build a Methodist church in New Westminster
  • was known as an advocate for responsible government, became the editor of the British Columbian (a newspaper)
  • he was “briefly imprisoned” by Judge Matthew Baillie Begbie for publishing a letter that suggested Begbie took a bribe; this didn’t do much for Begbie’s popularity
  • served on the New West town council and was later elected to the BC Legislative Council (the Council had some elected, and some appointed seats, and governed the newly united Colonies of BC and Vancouver Island).
  • moved his paper to Victoria, where it was bought out by De Cosmos paper Daily British Colonist (which still exists today as the Victoria Times-Colonist)
  • became an advocate for BC joining Confederation and so, along with De Cosmos and Robert Beaven, he founded the aptly named “Confederation League” which lobbied for BC to become part of Canada
  • 1871: was elected to BC’s first legislative assembly (seat = Nanaimo)
  • opposed his former ally, De Cosmos and the subsequent Premier, Walkem
  • was ahead of his time by advocating for female suffrage: “Although in 1873 he had claimed “respectable women didn’t want the right” to vote, he later had second thoughts, and by 1885 he was championing the enfranchisement of women because of their good work in voting for school trustees and their support of morality. Almost every year thereafter Robson introduced a private member’s bill to enfranchise women; each time the legislature rejected it.”1
  • like most of the politicians of his time, he supported racist policies against both Chinese and First Nations people; “He had been one of the first to call for a special tax on Chinese because they were “essentially different in their habits and destination,” did not contribute a fair share to the provincial treasury, and competed with “civilized labour.”” 1 and “Despite his belief that the native peoples would become “utterly extinct,” he argued that in the mean time the government had a responsibility to civilize and Christianize them. Thus they should be removed from the immoral towns and cities, protected from whisky traders, and made aware of the force of the law. He recognized Indians’ rights as the “original ‘lords of the soil’” but demanded that treaties be negotiated and reserves established so that Indians should not have more land than they could use well.” 1
  • received a patronage appointment with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) for his support of Alexander Mackenzie in the 1874 Canadian federal election
  • 1882: returned to the provincial legislature (seat = New West)
  • advocated for constructing the CPR terminus at Granville, and he got the legislature to name the Vancouver as “Vancouver” when it was incorporation in 1886
  • during Premier Davie‘s long illness, Robson served as the acting Premier and, in 1889, was appointed Premier when Davie died
  • switched from representing New West (a really busy, growing riding) to representing a riding in the Cariboo to reduce his workload, as he was worried for his health
  • 1892: died of blood poisoning in office after he hurt his finger in the door of a hansom cab, becoming the third BC premier in a row to die in office

In summary, he died of hansom cab door-related mishap.

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

References:
Wikipedia, the reference that rhymes with ickipedia.
1Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online



Now we enter the era of Premiers whose names I recognize because they have Vancouver Streets named after them. At least, I assume Smithe St. is named after this guy.

Name William Smithe
Born: June 30, 1842 in Matfen, England
Died: March 28, 1887 in Victoria, British Columbia (he only lived to be 44 years old!)
Party: none
Held Office: January 29, 1883 – March 29, 1887
  • settled on Vancouver Island in 1862 as a farmer
  • his first public office was the appointed position of road commissioner for Cowichan in 1865
  • ran in BC’s first provincial election in 1871 and won a seat for Cowichan
  • he was actually born as William Smith, but added an “e” to the end of his name, presumably because Amor De Cosmos was also oringally named William Smith and he figured the “e” would stop people from being confused as to who was who.  I’m guessing that the latter William Smith changing his name to Lover of the Universe did more to help people distinguish between the two of them than the former adding the “e”
  • in the Legislature, he maintained “an independent stance”1 by not supporting Premier McCreight or his successors, Premiers De Cosmos and Walkem
  • in 1873 he married Martha Kier, daughter of an important Cowichanian, which added to his prominence in the region
  • re-elected in 1875, campaigned on Walkem’s failure to build a road from Victoria to Cowichan
  • I like to say the word “Cowichan”
  • he was the leader of the opposition when the Leglislature opened in 1976, but as the Walkem Government fell, he handed over the opposition leadership to Andrew Charles Elliott, who then became the Premier. And didn’t include Smithe in the cabinet. Which I find a little ungrateful, no?
  • Smithe was added to cabinet as minister of finance and agriculture in July 1876, however, when the “erractic” Thomas Basil Humphreys was canned2
  • managed to retain his seat in the March 1878 election despite not really doing anything too exciting as a cabinet minisiter and in the face of most everyone else on the “government supporters” side of the floor being kicked out
  • yet again became the leader of the opposition against Premier Walkem (we was reinstituted as Premier)
  • became the Premier in 18 when Walkem’s successor, Beaven, couldn’t muster up the support of more than 8 of 24 MLAs; this gave Smithe the biggest majority since BC joined Confederation
  • at this point, BCers were still pissed off over the long-standing issue of Canada not building the promised railway, as well as mainland BCers being pissed off over a really expensive dock being built on the Island. Dock-gate, if you will3.  Smithe struck a deal (the Settlement Act) that made both mainlanders and islanders happy:
    • the feds got “3,500,000 acres in the Peace River district” of BC<5
    • the feds would “open the railway lands in the south to settlement, assume construction of the graving dock, and advance $750,000, for the building of the island railway”5.
  • As with several other of the Premiers we’ve looked at so far, Smithe’s government implemented a number of racist policies aimed at Chinese-Canadians and Aboriginal people, including:
    • preventing Chinese people from acquiring crown land
    • a $10/yr “license” fee for Chinese people over the age of 15. If I’m reading that correctly, that’s a license to be Chinese?
    • trying to implement an act forbidding Chinese immigration. This act was stopped by the feds, but the feds did implement a $50 head tax on all “Oriental” immigrants to appease BC
    • “severely limited Indian lands […] arguing that because Indians did not cultivate much land they did not need much”5.
  • won the 1886 election, showing support from the public on his policies, including the racist ones,
  • when asked by an “American newspapermen […] if British Columbia might one day annex itself to the Union in response to natural trading interests, he replied that British Columbia might instead annex Washington and Oregon”5.
  • died of nephritis in office in 1887.

In summary, Smithe appears to have settled that whole railway kerfuffle that all the previous BC premiers seemed to have being fighting with the feds over.  So here’s hoping that we will be reading about more non-railway issues in future editions of my BC Premier Series!

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

Footnotes:
1Which I still find funny, given that there were no political parties at this time
2No idea what made Humphreys so “erratic” as Wikipedia doesn’t have an entry for him. And I’m too lazy to search any further for that as my interest-level:willingness-to-exert-effort ratio on this one is pretty low.
3Not to be mistaken for Deck-gate.

References:
4Wikipedia, the reference that shall inherit the earth
5Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online



Andrew Charles Elliot, the fourth Premier of the Province of British Columbia, rivals the Right Honourable Captain Boring in terms of sheer boringness.

Name Andrew Charles Elliott
Born: c. 1828 somewhere in Ireland
Died: April 9, 1889 in San Francisco
Party: Like a rock star
Held Office: February 1, 1876 – February 11, 1878
  • apparently they don’t actually know when he was born, nor can they narrow down the location to more than just “Ireland.”  Nice record keeping, 1820s Ireland!
  • he came to BC to be a lawyer in the “gold colony” and somehow was called to the bar, even though there was no county court system.  So he figured he’d leave.  Then they made a court system. And then he stayed.
  • He became a county judge, then a “gold commissioner and stipendiary magistrate,” then he was appointed to the Legislative Council by Governor Frederick Seymour.  After BC joined Confederation, he became the high sheriff, then the police magistrate of Victoria.  He had a lot of jobs.
  • In 1875 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly and later would become the Leader of the Opposition (again, remembering that there aren’t any political parties at this point).  When G.A.W. got kicked out by a non-confidence vote, Lieutenant Governor Joseph William Trutch asked A.C.E. to form a government.
  • He had a reputation for being boring “honesty and gentlemanly behaviour. “Nearly twenty years in office and not rich!” exclaimed David William Higgins, the editor of the” Daily British Colonist and Victoria Chronicle4.
  • Faced with the clusterfuck of a financial situation  that G.A.W. had left behind1 he raised taxes. All sorts of taxes. Real estate taxes. Income taxes. School taxes. Wild land taxes.
  • Like G.A.W. before him, A.C.E. had to deal with the whole railroad thing.  The feds had offered a railroad from Esquimalt to Nanaimo if the province agree to let them have more time to complete the transcontinential railroad.  But there were more delays and suchlike, and then the feds said, “Um, yeah, that whole thing about the railroad ending in Esquimalt… yeah, not so much.”
  • His government was defeated in 1878 and so he resigned.  Then he tried really hard to get a pension from the federal government on the basis that he was a former colonial official.  Again, the feds said, “Yeah, not so much.”  While in London trying to get support for the pension claim, his wife died unexpectedly back in Victoria in 1881.
  • He lived in San Fran for his last few years, on the advice of doctors who felt the northern climate was too cold for his poor health.

In summary,*yawn*.

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

Footnotes:
1It was so bad that the Bank of BC had cut off their government’s credit. How bad does a government had to be for the bank of their province to cut off their credit?
2Apparently these docs haven’t actually been to San Fran ‘cuz, really, it’s pretty frickin’ cold there, imho.

References:
3Wikipedia, the reference where everybody knows your name
4Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online



… is being preempted by need to get a heck of a lot of work done tonight. Long story short: running a big event for work tomorrow, need to get a whole bunch of ideas for a workshop from my head to a PowerPoint file. And need to be there tomorrow by 7:30 in the a.m.  So you’ll just have to wait until next week to learn about the late great Andrew Charles Elliott, 4th Premier of the great province of British Columbia. I know. There, there. There, there.

To soften this devastating disappointment, I will share with you the funny things I read on the waiver I had to sign to play hockey at UBC:

ASSUMPTION OF RISKS I am aware that playing ice hockey and being involved in the Todd Ice Hockey League program involves many risks, dangers and hazards including, but not limited to: impact and collision with other players or officials; playing with or without non-certified officials; impact with objects or equipment used in connection with playing ice hockey; changes in the type of surface and the condition of each surface, including ice surface, hallways, shower facilities, stairs and change rooms; loss of balance;

Loss of balance?  Really?  We have to sign to say that we know we might lose our balance? On ice?  On skates? In a game where people push each other?  I know that lawyers write these things, but it feels like that’s something that should go without saying.

… failure to play safely within one’s own ability;

Again, it should be obvious that I am responsible for my own playing.  Do people really try to sue someone on the grounds that, “I wasn’t playing safely within my own ability!!”?

failure to play against others of equal stature or ability; theft; consumption of food and drink, whether made by professionals or by non-professionals; negligence of other participants; and NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA OR THEIR STAFF INCLUDING THE FAILURE ON THE PART OF THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA OR THEIR STAFF TO SAFEGUARD OR PROTECT ME FROM THE RISKS, DANGERS AND HAZARDS OF PLAYING IN THE TODD ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE.

Again, I know it’s lawyers that write these things, but wouldn’t it just be better if people weren’t negligent?  And I didn’t add the ALL CAPS here.  Doesn’t that make it feel like they are telling you “WE PLAN TO BE NEGLIGENT!!!”?

And finally, doesn’t point #5 below seem incongruous with points 1-4?

1. TO WAIVE ANY AND ALL CLAIMS that I have or may in the future […] 2. TO HOLD HARMLESS AND INDEMNIFY THE RELEASEES from any and all liability for any damage to property of or personal injury{…] n3. This Agreement shall be effective and binding upon my heirs, next of kin, […] 4. This Agreement and any rights, duties and obligations as between the parties to this Agreement shall be governed by and interpreted solely in accordance with the laws of the Province of British Columbia and no other jurisdiction; and 5. Any litigation involving the parties to this Agreement shall be brought solely within the Province of British Columbia[…]

So points #1-4 say that I can’t sue anybody at UBC if anything happens to me at the arena, whether it’s during the game or if I slip in the shower, and nor can my family or friends should I happen to die… but point#5 says that if I sue, it has to be in BC.  Huh?

OK, I hope that little bit of waiver-y goodness can tide you over until tomorrow night when I’ll blog something much better.  No, really.  And wish me luck with my big event tomorrow!!



Tonight’s installment of my British Columbia premieral series brings us BC Premier#2 – a guy who was fond of representative government, but people of Chinese and First Nations descent, not so much. Oh yeah, and he legally changed his name to “Lover of the Universe.”  Seriously.

Amor de Cosmos 2a.png Name Amor de Cosmos (born: William Alexander Smith)
Born: August 20, 1825 in Windsor, Nova Scotia
Died: July 4, 1897 in Victoria, BC
Party: Liberal Party of Canada (until 1882)
Held Office: December 23, 1872 – February 11, 1874
  • spent 12 years as a grocery clerk, but then moved to California in 1853 to become a photographer during the California Gold Rush
  • in 1854, he changed his name from Will Smith (boring!) to Amor De Cosmos (awesome!) – he chose this name “to pay tribute, as he said, “to what I love most…Love of order, beauty, the world, the universe.”1
  • in 1858, he moved back to British North America (i.e., what would later become Canada), specifically to Victoria, which was in what was then known as the “Colony of Vancouver Island” (now just “Vancouver Island” which is part of British Columbia) and founded a newspaper then called the The Daily British Colonist, which would later become the Victoria-Times Colonist (are you still following all this?)
  • he wasn’t too fond of the governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island, Sir James Douglas, governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island who, along with his peeps, wasn’t a big fan of representative government; he figured that the church, church-run schools and a landed gentry should run the show; De Cosmos, in contrast, was big on public education, ending economic and political privileges, and responsible, elected government.
  • De Cosmos supported the development of “the three Fs”: farming, forestry & fisheries – he described fisheries as “an exhaustless mine of wealth”2 and BC forests as “practically inexhaustible,”2; these industries, of course, were kind of a big deal for the economy for many, many years to come (although the “exhuastlessness” of our natural resources, well, not so much).
  • he supported the union of the Colonies of British Columbia (BC) and Vancouver Island (occurred in 1866), and the entry of BC into Canadian Confederation (occurred on July 20, 1871 )
  • political offices held:
    • member of the Legislated Assembly of Vancouver Island (1863-1866, whcn VI joined BC)
    • member of the Assembly of the United Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia (1867-1868, 1870-1871)
    • elected to represent Victoria in both the provincial and Canadian government in 1871
    • took over as Premier of BC after McCreight resigned due to a vote of non-confidence in 1872
  • he is considered to be BC’s “Father of Confederation,” as he played a key role in getting BC to join Canadian Confederation
  • as Premier, his government focussed on the issues with which he had always been concerned: ” political reform, economic expansion, and the development of public institutions — especially schools”1, as well as the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
  • His tenure as Premier, though, was rather short and he spend much of it in Ottawa & London; “his government continued the policy begun by McCreight of implementing a system of free, non-sectarian public schooling, reduced the number of public officials, extended the property rights of married women, and adopted the secret ballot.”2
  • he described First Nations people and people of Chinese descent as “inferior” (although he thought they could be used in the labour force) and he thought the federal government was too generous in its “concessions of land” to First Nations people, and that First Nations people “should be taught “to earn his living the same as a white man.””2
  • he ended his tenure as Premier amid “accusations of impropriety”3 in 1874, but still managed to be re-elected to federal Parliament.
  • he gained a reputation for being “eccentric” due to such things as as his fierce temper that often ended in fist (and walking stick4) fights, his phobia of electricity, the fact that he changed his name to “Lover of the Universe,” his egotism, his objection to the introduction of prayer in the House of Commons and his remaining a bachelor5); after retiring, his eccentricities intensified to the point that he was declared “of unsound mind” in 1895, and he died about a year and a half later
Hamish McKinnon.  All rights reserved.

The Parliament Building Players, The Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC, Summer 1998. Back: Francis Rattenbury, Nellie Cashman, Amor de Cosmos, Queen Victoria, James Douglas Front: Hamish McKinnon. All rights reserved.

In summary, this guy changed his name to “Lover of the Universe.” What’s up with that?

Image credits:

  1. Black & white image accessed from Wikipedia. In the public domain. w00t!
  2. Update 12 Sept 2008 – Image of the Parliament Players provided by JB (see comments). He owns the copyright. All rights reserved.

References:
1Wikipedia, the reference of champions
2Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

Footnotes:
3Starting a long history of BC Premiers leaving office under a dark cloud. They’ve made something of an art form of scandal, really.
4Picturing this guy getting into a fight in which he uses his walking stick as a weapon amuses me greatly.
5Seriously, being “unmarried” was mentioned in the context of him being an “eccentric.”



{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!

Footnotes:
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.

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



et cetera