George Sharratt Pearson

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George Sharratt Pearson (April 27, 1880 – August 24, 1966) was an English-born wholesale grocer and political figure in British Columbia. He represented Nanaimo from 1928 to 1933, Alberni-Nanaimo from 1933 to 1941 and Nanaimo and the Islands from 1941 to 1952 in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia as a Liberal.

He was born in Bromley, Staffordshire in 1880,[1] the son of Joseph Dudley Pearson and Emma Sharratt. Pearson came to Canada in 1889; he was educated in Nanaimo, British Columbia. In 1904, Pearson married Emmeline Pearce. He served in the provincial cabinet as Minister of Labour and Commissioner of Fisheries. Pearson was president of the Nanaimo General Hospital.[1] From 1941 to 1952, he was a member of a Liberal-Conservative coalition in the provincial assembly.[2] Pearson died in Nanaimo at the age of 86 in 1966.[3]

In 1942 Pearson was a powerful political leader who adamantly advocated for the entire Japanese population to be driven out of British Columbia, in spite of military, navy and RCMP assertion, that they posed no threat. According to Canadian lawyer Mark Sakamoto, “B.C.politicians took the floor. They were led by George Pearson, B.C.’s minister of labour. He was half mad with rage. His position was that the entire Japanese population could not be trusted and he sought a final solution for his province: drive them all out.”[4]

The George Pearson Centre of the Vancouver Hospital, originally known as the Pearson Tuberculosis Hospital, was named in his honour.[5] The Pearson Bridge and Pearson Park in Nanaimo[6] and the retired BC ferry MV George S. Pearson were also named after Pearson.[7]

On September 14th, 2021, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority announced that they would be renaming the George Pearson Centre due his history of lobbying against the rights and freedoms of Japanese Canadians in the 1940's.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Normandin, A L (1940). Canadian Parliamentary Guide 1940.
  2. ^ "Electoral History of British Columbia, 1871–1986" (PDF). Elections BC. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  3. ^ "Vital Event Death Registration". BC Archives. Retrieved November 15, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Sakamoto, Mark (2014) Forgiveness. Harper. pp 89–90. ISBN 978-1443417983
  5. ^ "News Items". Canadian Medical Association Journal. Canadian Medical Association. 67 (1): 81–85. July 1952. PMC 1822388.
  6. ^ "Newcastle + Brechin Neighbourhood Plan" (PDF). City of Nanaimo. p. 150. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 12, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  7. ^ "MV George S. Pearson". Salt Spring Island Archives. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  8. ^ "George Pearson Centre in Vancouver to be renamed after racism complaint". vancouversun. Retrieved September 17, 2021.