|16th Premier of British Columbia|
June 1, 1903 – December 15, 1915
|Preceded by||Edward Gawler Prior|
|Succeeded by||William John Bowser|
December 15, 1870|
New Westminster, British Columbia
|Died||August 6, 1917
Sir Richard McBride, KCMG (December 15, 1870 – August 6, 1917) was a British Columbian politician and is often considered the founder of the British Columbia Conservative Party. McBride was first elected to the provincial legislature in the 1898 election, and served in the cabinet of James Dunsmuir from 1900 to 1901. McBride believed that the province's system of non-party government was unstable and hindered development. After the lieutenant-governor appointed him the 16th Premier in June 1903 and McBride announced that his government was a Conservative Party administration and would contest the upcoming election along party lines. On October 3, 1903 McBride's party, the British Columbia Conservative Party won the first provincial election to be fought along party lines with a two seat majority.
The new Conservative government attempted to stabilize the economy by cutting spending and raising new taxes. It also introduced progressive reforms of the province's labour law. In 1909 McBride unveiled plans for a provincial university and promised to build more railway lines. The party won commanding majorities in the 1909 and 1912 elections, almost shutting the Opposition out of the legislature.
McBride's Conservatives were aligned with the federal Conservatives of Robert Borden, and helped them take power in the 1911 federal election. On the first day of the First World War, the provincial government purchased and took possession of two submarines (HMCS CC-1 and HMCS CC-2) to defend the province from the threat of German attack. As provinces are not constitutionally allowed to maintain militaries, they were quickly transferred by order to the federal government within 48 hours and entered service with the Royal Canadian Navy in August 1914.
The government's popularity waned as an economic downturn hit the province along with the mounting railway debts. McBride resigned on December 15, 1915 to become the province's representative in London, where he died in 1917.
The small community of McBride, British Columbia was named after this premier during the time he was in office. Also named for the premier, the McBride River in northern British Columbia is a major tributary of the Stikine.
Sir Richard McBride Elementary School in Vancouver was named after him in 1911 during his tenure as Premier.
- Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- British Columbia: From the Earliest Times to the Present, Vol IV (Biographical) by E.O.S. Scholefield and F.W. Howay (see pp. 5-6).