Robert Howard McClelland

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Robert Howard McClelland
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Langley
In office
August 30, 1972 – October 22, 1986
Serving with Dan Peterson
Preceded by Bob McClelland
Succeeded by Carol Gran
Dan Peterson
Personal details
Born (1933-11-02) November 2, 1933 (age 84)
Calgary, Alberta
Political party Social Credit
Residence Kelowna, British Columbia
Occupation Broadcaster

Robert Howard "Bob" McClelland (born November 2, 1933) is a former broadcaster, journalist and political figure in British Columbia.[1] He represented Langley in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia from 1972 to 1986 as a Social Credit member.

Early life and career[edit]

He was born and educated in Calgary, Alberta. McClelland moved to British Columbia as a driver for a furniture moving company. He served as alderman for Langley from 1969 to 1972. McClelland also worked as a broadcaster for radio station CHQM, as publisher of the Fraser Valley News Herald and as publisher of a monthly country and western music newspaper.

Provincial politics[edit]

In 1973, McClelland ran unsuccessfully for the leadership of the Social Credit party.[2] He later served in the provincial cabinet for Premier Bill Bennett as Minister of Health, as Minister of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources, as Minister of Labour and as Minister of Industry and Small Business Development.[3]

McClelland earned the nickname "Broadway Bob" from his opponents after a controversy arose in 1982 about a taxpayer-paid visit in 1980 to New York City that included tickets to a burlesque Broadway musical and costs for keeping a limousine chauffeur on standby for 10 hours at Plaza Hotel.[4]

The Top Hat Affair[edit]

On the night of Feb. 26, 1985, the day before he was transferred from Labour ministry to Industry and Small Business, McClelland phoned and paid $130 as a customer[3] to Top Hat Productions, a Victoria-based escort service that was under surveillance by police.[5] On Nov. 27, 1987, McClelland was called by the defence to testify in the criminal trial of Top Hat's operator, Arlie Blakely, who faced 19 counts of prostitution-related offences. McClelland testified that he had drank too much alcohol that night to retain memory of everything that happened.[6] The issue became known as The Top Hat Affair. McClelland retained his cabinet position until July 1986 after Bill Vander Zalm became the new leader of his political party. He did not seek re-election.


  1. ^ Normandin, P.G.; Normandin, A.L. (1978). The Canadian parliamentary guide. Normandin. ISSN 0315-6168. Retrieved Feb 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ Nichols, Marjorie (November 22, 1973). "Six Socreds in the corridor". Vancouver Sun. p. 6. Retrieved Feb 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Bennett won't fire minister". Vancouver Sun. pp. 1–2. Retrieved Feb 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ McMartin, Will (March 21, 2011). "Opinion: More on Liberal Insiders and BC Hydro's Smart Meter Gold Rush". The Tyee. Retrieved Feb 21, 2015. 
  5. ^ Barrett, Tom (Apr 23, 2013). "The Labour Minister Whose Visa Card Was X-Rated". The Tyee. Retrieved Feb 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ Bitonti, Daniel (May 24, 2013). "Reviewing lessons at the school for scandal's B.C. campus". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved Feb 21, 2015.