British Columbia general election, 1890

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This was the sixth election held after British Columbia became a province of Canada on July 20, 1871. The number of members was increased for this election from 27 in the previous election to 33, although the number of ridings was decreased to 18.

Political context[edit]

Issues and debates[edit]

Non-party system[edit]

There were to be no political parties in the new province. The designations "Government" and "Opposition" and "Independent" (and variations on these) functioned in place of parties, but they were very loose and do not represent formal coalitions, more alignments of support during the campaign. "Government" meant in support of the current Premier; "Opposition" meant campaigning against him, and often enough the Opposition would win and immediately become the Government.

Although Labour as a party had run candidates in previous election, this election saw the first victories by Labour candidates (in Nanaimo and Nanaimo City), and a "Farmer" candidate (in the second Nanaimo seat). There were five successful independents.

The Robson Government[edit]

The government of newspaperman John Robson received a mandate after assuming power the year before. Robson died in office in 1892, yielding to Theodore Davie.

Byelections not shown[edit]

Any changes due to byelections are shown below the main table showing the theoretical composition of the House after the election. A final table showing the composition of the House at the dissolution of the Legislature at the end of this Parliament can be found below the byelections. The main table represents the immediate results of the election only, not changes in governing coalitions or eventual changes due to byelections.

List of ridings[edit]

The original ridings were thirteen in number, and Cowichan was restored to a two-member seat while New Westminster was increased to three, with the new total being 33 members. There were no political parties were not acceptable in the House by convention, though some members were openly partisan at the federal level (usually Conservative, although both Liberal and Labour allegiance were on display by some candidates).

These ridings were:

Polling conditions[edit]

Natives (First Nations) and Chinese were disallowed from voting, although naturalized Kanakas (Hawaiian colonists) and American and West Indian blacks and certain others participated. The requirement that knowledge of English be spoken for balloting was discussed but not applied.

Results by riding[edit]

Results of British Columbia general election, 1890
Government Opposition
Member Riding
& party
Riding
& party
Member
     Thomas Fletcher Alberni
Government
          Cariboo
Independent
George Cowan     
     Joseph Mason Cariboo
Government
          Cassiar
Opposition
John Grant     
     John Robson 1           Esquimalt
Opposition
David Williams Higgins     
     Samuel Augustus Rogers           Charles Edward Pooley     
     Robert Hanley Hall Cassiar
Government
          Lillooet
Opposition
David Alexander Stoddart     
     Joseph Hunter Comox
Government
          New Westminster
Opposition
William Henry Ladner     
     Henry Croft Cowichan
Government
          James Orr     
     Theodore Davie           New Westminster City
Independent
John Cunningham Brown     
     James Baker East Kootenay
Government
          Vancouver City
Opposition
Independent
Francis Lovett Carter-Cotton     
     Alfred Wellington Smith Lillooet
Government
          James Welton Horne     
     George William Anderson Victoria
Gov
          Victoria City
Opposition
Robert Beaven     
     David McEwen Eberts           John Grant     
     John Herbert Turner Victoria City
Gov
          George Lawson Milne     
     John Robson Westminster
Gov
          Yale
Opposition
Charles Augustus Semlin     
     George Bohun Martin Yale
Government
          Nanaimo
Labour
Farmer
Thomas William Forster     
     Forbes George Vernon           Colin Campbell McKenzie     
     Nanaimo City
Labour
Thomas Keith     
     West Kootenay
Independent
James M. Kellie     
     Westminster
Opposition
Independent
James Punch     
     Thomas Edwin Kitchen     
1 Premier-Elect and Incumbent Premier
Source: Elections BC

See also[edit]

Further reading & references[edit]

  • In the Sea of Sterile Mountains: The Chinese in British Columbia, Joseph Morton, J.J. Douglas, Vancouver (1974). Despite its title, a fairly thorough account of the politicians and electoral politics in early BC.