John Oliver (British Columbia politician)

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John Oliver
19th Premier of British Columbia
In office
March 6, 1918 – August 17, 1927
MonarchGeorge V
Lieutenant GovernorFrancis Stillman Barnard
Edward Gawler Prior
Walter Cameron Nichol
Robert Randolph Bruce
Preceded byHarlan Carey Brewster
Succeeded byJohn Duncan MacLean
MLA for Victoria City
In office
June 9, 1900 – October 3, 1903
Preceded byWilliam Thomas Forster
Succeeded bydistrict abolished
MLA for Delta
In office
October 3, 1903 – November 25, 1909
Preceded byfirst member
Succeeded byFrancis James Anderson MacKenzie
MLA for Dewdney
In office
September 14, 1916 – December 1, 1920
Preceded byWilliam J. Manson
Succeeded byJohn Alexander Catherwood
MLA for Victoria City
In office
December 1, 1920 – June 20, 1924
Preceded byGeorge Bell
Harlan Carey Brewster
Henry Charles Hall
John Hart
Succeeded byReginald Hayward
MLA for Nelson
In office
August 23, 1924 – August 17, 1927
Preceded byKenneth Campbell
Succeeded byJames Albert McDonald
Personal details
Born(1856-07-31)July 31, 1856
Hartington, England
DiedAugust 17, 1927(1927-08-17) (aged 71)
Victoria, British Columbia
Political partyLiberal
Other political
Elizabeth Woodward (m. 1886)
Children5 sons and 3 daughters
ResidenceVictoria, British Columbia
CabinetMinister of Agriculture and Railways (1916-1918)

John Oliver (Hartington, England July 31, 1856 – August 17, 1927) was a politician and farmer in British Columbia, Canada.

Oliver was involved in local politics when he won a seat in the provincial legislature in the 1900 election, and became leader of the opposition. He lost his seat in the 1909 election. He returned to the legislature in the 1916 election as a Liberal member, and became Minister of Agriculture and Railways in the cabinet of Harlan Carey Brewster. Oliver succeeded Brewster to become the 19th Premier when Brewster died in 1918. Oliver's government developed the produce industry in the Okanagan Valley, and tried to persuade the federal government to lower the freight rate for rail transport. Oliver also in 1923 hosted the visit of Warren Harding to Vancouver, the first ever visit of a sitting United States President to Canada.

Oliver remained premier until his death in 1927.

John Oliver Secondary School in Vancouver, British Columbia, John Oliver Park in Delta, BC, Mount John Oliver in the Premier Range of the Cariboo Mountains, the town of Oliver, British Columbia, and Oliver Street in Williams Lake, British Columbia, are all named after him.

Electoral history[edit]

British Columbia general election, 1900: Westminster-Delta
Party Candidate Votes %
Government John Oliver 324 45.51
Conservative John Walter Berry 215 30.20
Progressive Thomas William Forster 173 24.30
Total valid votes 712 100.00
10th British Columbia election, 1903
Party Candidate Votes % ± Expenditures
Conservative William Henry Ladner 309 40.87% unknown
     Liberal John Oliver 447 59.13% unknown
Total valid votes 756 100.00%
Total rejected ballots
Turnout %
11th British Columbia election, 1907
Party Candidate Votes % ± Expenditures
Conservative Francis James Anderson MacKenzie 261 37.77% unknown
     Liberal John Oliver 430 62.23% unknown
Total valid votes 691 100.00%
Total rejected ballots
Turnout %
12th British Columbia election, 1909
Party Candidate Votes % ± Expenditures
Conservative Francis James Anderson MacKenzie 765 58.13% unknown
     Liberal John Oliver 551 41.87% unknown
Total valid votes 1,316 100.00%
Total rejected ballots
Turnout %
1 Results of recount as reported in New Westminster Columbian 29 November 1909, p. 1
13th British Columbia election, 1912
Party Candidate Votes % ± Expenditures
Conservative Francis James Anderson MacKenzie 748 70.83% unknown
     Liberal John Oliver 308 29.17% unknown
Total valid votes 1,056 100.00%
Total rejected ballots
Turnout %
British Columbia general election, 1920: Delta
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal John Oliver 1,334 37.50
Soldier–Farmer Richmond Archie Payne 1,107 31.12
Conservative Francis James Anderson MacKenzie 964 21.55
Total valid votes 3,557 100.00


  • "John Oliver". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.