Dave Barrett

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Dave Barrett
OC OBC
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca
In office
November 21, 1988 – October 25, 1993
Preceded by Riding Established
Succeeded by Keith Martin
26th Premier of British Columbia
In office
September 15, 1972 – December 22, 1975
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor John Robert Nicholson
Walter Stewart Owen
Preceded by W. A. C. Bennett
Succeeded by Bill Bennett
13th British Columbia Leader of the Opposition
In office
December 22, 1975 – May 20, 1984
Preceded by William King
Succeeded by Bob Skelly
In office
September 5, 1969 – September 15, 1972
Preceded by Thomas R. Berger
Succeeded by W. A. C. Bennett
Leader of the British Columbia New Democratic Party
In office
September 5, 1969 – May 20, 1984
Preceded by Thomas R. Berger
Succeeded by Bob Skelly
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Vancouver East
In office
June 3, 1976 – June 1, 1984
Serving with Robert Williams
Preceded by Alexander Macdonald
Robert Arthur Williams
Succeeded by Robert Arthur Williams
Glen Clark
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Coquitlam
In office
September 12, 1966 – December 11, 1975
Preceded by Riding Established
Succeeded by George Herman Kerster
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Dewdney
In office
September 12, 1960 – September 12, 1966
Preceded by Lyle Wicks
Succeeded by George Mussallem
Personal details
Born ( 1930-10-02)October 2, 1930
Vancouver, British Columbia
Died February 2, 2018(2018-02-02) (aged 87)
Victoria, British Columbia
Citizenship Canadian
Political party New Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Shirley Hackman
Children 3
Alma mater Seattle University
Saint Louis University
Profession Social worker
OBC ribbon

David Barrett, OC OBC (October 2, 1930 – February 2, 2018) was a politician and social worker in British Columbia, Canada. He was the 26th Premier of British Columbia for three years between 1972 and 1975.

Early life and career[edit]

Barrett was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, the son of Rose (Hyatt or Hait[1]) and Samuel Barrett, a peddler. His paternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants.[2][3]

Barrett described his father as a Fabian socialist and his mother as a Communist who voted CCF.[4][5]

Barrett graduated from Seattle University with a degree in philosophy. He returned to Vancouver in 1953 after graduating and married Shirley Hackman. The couple then moved to St. Louis, Missouri where Barrett attended St Louis University and earned a master's degree in social work.[4][5]

The couple and their two children (a third would be born in 1960) returned to British Columbia in 1957 where he found work at Haney Correctional Institute as a personnel and staff training officer and was asked to run for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation after giving a party member a tour of the facility.[4]

Political career[edit]

Election to the legislature[edit]

Barrett was first elected to British Columbia's legislature in the 1960 election as a Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (soon to become the New Democratic Party of British Columbia) member for the electoral district of Dewdney. He had been fired from his job by the provincial government in 1959 after it became known that he was running for a CCF nomination and had to fight for reinstatement as at the time civil servants were barred from running for office.[4]

He became known for his public speaking ability and held his seat through four elections. He ran for the provincial leadership of the NDP, but lost to Tom Berger. However, Berger lost the 1969 election, a contest that the NDP had been expected to win. He resigned, and there was a quick campaign to draft Barrett as party leader.

Premier[edit]

Barrett led the NDP to its first provincial victory against the stagnating Social Credit government of W. A. C. Bennett in the 1972 election. He became Premier on September 15, 1972.

The Barrett government substantially reformed the welfare system, initiated a number of reforms such as establishing the province's Labour Relations Board, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) in order to provide public auto insurance and the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) to protect the small supply of farm land in BC, all of which were retained by subsequent Social Credit and Liberal governments.[5] The NDP also introduced more democracy into the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia through the introduction of question period and full Hansard transcripts of legislative proceedings in the province.[6]

On social policy, in 1973, B.C. banned corporal punishment in all schools. It also banned pay toilets, launched Pharmacare, lowered the drinking age to 19, increased the minimum wage, preserved Cypress Bowl for recreation and established the air ambulance service, passed the British Columbia Human Rights Code, consumer protection laws, and introduced French immersion in schools.[5][7]

Barrett's government also introduced a mineral royalties tax which inflamed the mining industry and helped mobilize it into organizing to defeat the NDP electorally.[5]

The NDP passed 367 bills, an average of a new law on average every three days, while in power.[5]

Return to Opposition[edit]

Barrett called a snap election in 1975, and was defeated by the Social Credit Party, then led by Bill Bennett, son of the man Barrett had defeated in the previous election. Bennett's campaign focused on attacking the Barrett government's handling of provincial finances. Businesses and other free market supporters had united the opposition to the NDP under a revitalized Social Credit with both Liberal and Conservative (MLAs) crossing the floor to join the Socreds prior to the election.

In terms of raw numbers (but not percentage), the NDP increased its popular vote in the 1975 election. However, its vote outside of the Vancouver area plummeted, costing it 20 seats and its majority. Barrett was personally defeated in the Coquitlam seat he had held since its creation in a 1965 redistribution, losing to Socred challenger George Herman Kerster by only 18 votes. In June 1976, he was returned to the legislature in a by-election in Vancouver East, after sitting NDP MLA Robert Arthur Williams stepped aside. He remained an MLA for that riding until 1984, continuing to lead the NDP against Bennett's Socreds in the 1979 and 1983 elections.

On October 6, 1983, Barrett was forcibly removed from the Legislative Assembly chamber by the Serjeant-at-Arms, during a raucous debate on the Social Credit government's austerity program, for failing to abide by the Speaker's ruling and was banned from the legislature for several months.[5] This was the first incident in the legislature's history where security staff had to intervene and remove a member from chamber.[8]

Federal politics[edit]

Barrett was elected Member of Parliament for the riding of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca in 1988. He ran for the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party in 1989, losing narrowly on the fourth ballot to Audrey McLaughlin at the party's leadership convention. Rival candidate Simon De Jong agreed to support Barrett in exchange for being named Party Whip. De Jong forgot that he was wearing a microphone as part of a CBC documentary on the convention and the back-room discussions leaked to the press.[9] The surrounding controversy hurt De Jong but was short-lived. During the campaign, Barrett argued that the party should be concerned with Western alienation, rather than focusing its attention on Quebec. The Quebec leadership of the NDP strongly opposed Barrett's candidacy, and future Quebec MP Phil Edmonston threatened to resign from the party if Barrett became leader.[10]

During contentious attempts to amend Canada's constitution, Barrett opposed the 1987 Meech Lake Accord, but reluctantly endorsed the 1992 Charlottetown Accord to comply with party policy. He later referred to the party's support for the Accord as a mistake.

He lost his seat in the 1993 federal election to Reform Party candidate Keith Martin.

Post-political life[edit]

From 1998 to 2000, Barrett chaired two inquiries into the Leaky condo crisis in BC entitled The Commission of Inquiry into the Quality of Condominium Construction in British Columbia. The first of what became known as the "Barrett Commissions" was to investigate the cause of the crisis and make recommendations to prevent reoccurrence. The second was to make recommendations following the collapse of the New Home Warranty program.[11][12]

Barrett retired from active politics and, for health reasons beginning in 2010, from public life altogether. In 2000, Barrett was appointed to American Income Life Insurance Company's Labour Advisory Board as an Honorary Member.[13] In 2003, he supported Bill Blaikie's bid to become leader of the federal NDP. In 2005, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2012 a member of the Order of British Columbia. In 2014, it was announced that Barrett had Alzheimer's disease and was living in a care facility in Victoria, British Columbia.[14] He died on February 2, 2018, aged 87.[15]

A state memorial service was held for former B.C. premier Dave Barrett. The service took place at the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 10 a.m.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Marriage Records". BC Archives. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  2. ^ "Barrett: Still cheeky as he turns 80". Times Colonist. October 1, 2010. Archived from the original on February 8, 2016. Retrieved October 20, 2015. 
  3. ^ Fonds RBSC-ARC-1026 - Dave Barrett fonds Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d "Dave Barrett, B.C.'s first NDP premier, was a lively figure". Retrieved 23 February 2018 – via The Globe and Mail. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "First NDP premier of B.C., Dave Barrett, dead at 87". Vancouver Sun. February 2, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2018. 
  6. ^ "''Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.'' Hansard Services. FAQ". Leg.bc.ca. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  7. ^ Wilson, Deborah (February 2, 2018). "'Outrageous, flamboyant, always very quotable': Former B.C. premier Dave Barrett dead at 87". CBC News. Retrieved February 3, 2018. 
  8. ^ "1983: NDP leader booted from BC legislature". Archives.cbc.ca. October 6, 1983. Archived from the original on May 9, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  9. ^ "First woman to lead a national party - CBC Archives". Archives.cbc.ca. December 2, 1989. Archived from the original on June 17, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ "David Barrett". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  11. ^ BARRETT TO LEAD SECOND INQUIRY INTO LEAKY CONDOS, British Columbia Construction Association, Issue Update August 1999. (PDF) Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  12. ^ BC Law Institute, NWH Interim. (PDF) Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  13. ^ "Labour Advisory Board". American Income Life Insurance Company. Archived from the original on July 12, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ Les Leyne (October 4, 2014). "Former B.C. premiers Barrett, Bennett face common foe in Alzheimer's". Times Colonist. Retrieved December 5, 2015. 
  15. ^ "First NDP premier of B.C., Dave Barrett, dead at 87". vancouversun.com. 3 February 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2018. 
  16. ^ "State memorial service for former B.C. premier Dave Barrett to be held in Victoria Saturday, March 3". 21 February 2018. 

External links[edit]