British Columbia general election, 1898

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The British Columbia general election of 1898 was the eighth general election for the Province of British Columbia, Canada. It was held to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

Party politics[edit]

There were no political parties in this election — until the 1903 election, British Columbia politics were officially non-partisan and political parties were not part of the process. This trend began to change in the 1898 and 1900 elections with the appearance of party-designated candidates and some party-declared members; for example, Ralph Smith in South Nanaimo. The political alignments designated at the time of the dropping of the writ did not necessarily have anything to do with the jockeying for power and support once the election returns were in. Therefore, members shown as "Government" or "Opposition" only ran under that slate and had no necessary allegiances or party loyalties to follow. If a new government formed from the "Opposition" slate, as here with Charles Augustus Semlin, there was nothing to say that someone who'd run under the "Government" banner might not cross the floor either to join the governing caucus, or actually be invited over to take a cabinet position.

In the table below, the seating is only as it was when the House convened. The failure of Semlin's government fell on the shoulders of an over-ambitious Joseph Martin by early 1900. He held on to power despite a petition from Members of the House to the Lieutenant-Governor, but the Lieutenant-Governor, Thomas Robert McInnes, continued to support Martin so long as there was no sitting of the House, such that a situation of non-confidence could be proven, even though Martin had only himself and one other member in his caucus. Martin held out for six months, but the inevitable sitting of the House and immediate vote of non-confidence and subsequent election removed him from power and brought in James Dunsmuir.

It was because of this debacle, born in this election and the ones that preceded it, that party politics was finally introduced to British Columbia for the 1903 election.

Results by riding[edit]

Results of British Columbia general election, 1898
Government Opposition
Member Riding
& party
Riding
& party
Member
     Charles William Digby Clifford Cassiar
Government
          Alberni
Opposition
Alan Webster Neill     
     John Irving           Cariboo
Opposition
Hans Lars Helgesen     
     James Dunsmuir Comox
Government
          John Charlton Kinchant     
     Charles Edward Pooley Esquimalt
Opposition
          Esquimalt
Opposition
David Williams Higgins     
     William Russell Robertson Cowichan
Government
          Lillooet East
Opposition
James Douglas Prentice     
     William George Nielson East Kootenay (north riding)
Government
          Nanaimo City
Opposition
Robert Edward McKechnie     
     James Baker East Kootenay (south riding)
Government
          South Nanaimo
Labour
Ralph Smith     
     Alfred Wellington Smith Lillooet West
Government
          Vancouver City
Opposition
Francis Lovett Carter-Cotton     
     Alexander Henderson New Westminster City
Government
          Robert Macpherson     
     John Bryden North Nanaimo
Government
          Joseph Martin     
     John Paton Booth North Victoria
Government
          Charles Edward Tisdall     
     David McEwen Eberts South Victoria
Government
          West Kootenay-Nelson
Opposition
John Frederick Hume     
     Richard Hall Victoria City
Government
          West Kootenay-Revelstoke
Opposition
James M. Kellie     
     Henry Dallas Helmcken           West Kootenay-Rossland
Opposition
James Morris Martin     
     Albert Edward McPhillips           West Kootenay-Slocan
Opposition
Robert Francis Green     
     John Herbert Turner1           Westminster-Chilliwhack
Opposition
Charles William Munro     
     Richard McBride Westminster-Dewdney
Government
          Westminster-Delta
Opposition
Thomas William Forster     
     Price Ellison Yale-East
Government
          Westminster-Richmond
Opposition
Thomas Kidd     
     Yale-North
Opposition
Francis John Deane     
     Yale-West
Opposition
Charles Augustus Semlin2     
1 Incumbent Premier 2 Premier-Elect
Source: Elections BC

References[edit]