Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Turner Takes Over

Here's another photo of John Herbert Turner. This one is from a Wikipedia entry.
John Turner entered municipal politics in 1876. From 1876 to 1879, he served as an alderman before being acclaimed mayor in 1879. He served in that position until 1881 when he retired from Victoria's municipal politics.

While serving as mayor, Turner also acted as chair of the British Columbia Benevolent Society, the Royal Jubilee Hospital (I was born in that hospital though MANY years after Turner served on its board) and the British Columbia Agricultural Association.

Turner left the Pacific Coast in June of 1882 for an extended stay in England. During this time, he represented the province at the International Fisheries Exhibition held in London the following summer.

In 1886, Turner was back in British Columbia and ready to enter provincial politics. In July of that year, he won a seat as one of four representatives for Victoria City.As I have stated in earlier posts, at this time there was no formal party labels but John was associated with the governing group. A group that had been in power under various leaders since 1883 and remained so until 1898.

Turner was appointed to the cabinet on August 8, 1887 and under premier Alexander Edmund Batson Davie, John became minister of finance and agriculture. After Davie's death in 1889, Turner held these portfolios while in the cabinets of John Robson and Theodore Davie. 

Premier Theodore Davie resigned his office in March of 1895 and John Turner became premier. He took office on March 4 and continued to hold the portfolios of finance and agriculture.

 Opponents of the governing group bitterly criticized its fiscal management. (Sounds familiar. Not much has changed.) While Turner was minister of finance - from 1887-98 - the provincial budget was in a deficit each year. By the time he left, the gross public debt had climbed to $7,500,000 - a sevenfold increase since 1886.

The government was also denounced for the generous land grants given to railway promoters. In fact, this was the reason given by David Williams Higgins for his resignation as speaker of the house in the spring of 1898.

Newspapers, opposition prints of course, were calling this "Turnerism" and were condemning it. R. Edward Gosnell, Turner's secretary while he was premier, defined this in 1921 as: "favoritism, a lax civil service, extravagance in expenditure of public moneys, . . . encouragement of speculators and promoters at the expense of public assets, recklessness in railway charters and subventions, lack of definite and comprehensive policies, non-sympathy with labor aspirations, and everything else that might be chargeable against a government, which had been for a long time in power."
So the tale of Turner has not ended. Friday, I will tell you more. Once again, I have to thank the Dictionary of Canadian Biographywebsite for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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