Wednesday, May 15, 2013

George Anthony Walkem

Originally the All Saints Church, this building was built in 1905. Then it was at Victoria and Pandora Streets. 

Our third premier hailed from Newry Ireland. George Anthony Boomer Walkem moved to the Colony of British Columbia in 1862 and two years later began to serve in public office.

Walkem initially served as a member of the appointed Legislative Council of British Columbia. He supported the colony entering the federation of Canada and when it did so, Walkem was elected to the provincial legislature for the riding of Cariboo in 1871. He became Attorney General in Premier Amor De Cosmos's cabinet and succeeded him as premier in 1874.

The church was moved in two sections - drawn on wagons by teams of horses - in May 1926. On June 7, 1970, All Saints merged with its offspring parish, St. Saviours of Grandview, and was renamed St. David of Wales. 

Walkem's government pressured Ottawa to complete its commitment to build a railway to the Pacific Ocean. Initially this battle was unsuccessful forcing Walkem had to fight charges in the 1875 election that he had been unsuccessful in his promises to bring the railway and that he had increased the province's debt by expensive public works projects. His government did return to power though with a reduced majority.

The financial difficulties for Walkem's government continued to mount and in early 1876, his government lost a Motion of No Confidence. His government was replaced by one formed by Andrew Charles Elliot and Walkem became the leader of the opposition. Elliot wasn't the saviour some thought he was though, his government was unstable and collapsed within two years allowing Walkem to return in 1878 with a comfortable majority.

George's government opposed the 'cheap Chinese labour' and inserted a clause banning the hiring of Chinese labour in their contracts. That government also attempted to attach a special tax to the Chinese but that motion was struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada.

During his election campaign, Walkem threatened to pull British Columbia out of the confederation if Ottawa didn't start construction of the railway to the west by 1879. The provincial government then went over the feds' head and appealed to London. London pressured Ottawa to fulfil its promise.

In 1882, Walkem's government narrowly survived a Motion of No Confidence due to rising costs of a project to build a dock on Vancouver Island. However, Walkem lost the subsequent election. 

He then retired from politics and was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia where he stayed until his retirement in 1904.

George Anthony Boomer Walkem died on January 13, 1908 at the age of 73. He is interred in the Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, British Columbia.

Thanks goes to Wikipedia for the information on George Walkem and to Bob_2006 at for the info on St. David of Wales Church.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

, , , , ,,

No comments:

Post a Comment