Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Billy Boo

Today I am going to tell you about William N Vander Zalm., B.C.'s 28th premier. Bill Vander Zalm was not referred to as "Billy Boo", at least not that I know of, but his write up happens to fall on Halloween so that's why the title. I have met Mr. Vander Zalm, many years ago when the retirement home my late grandfather had helped raise money to build, had a painting of him done and a dedication ceremony was held.

Wilhelmus Nicholaas Theodore Marie "Bill" Vander Zalm was born May 29, 1934 in Noordwijkerhoot, Netherlands and came to Canada after World War II. Vander Zalm settled in the Fraser Valley in 1947. After he finished high school, young Bill sold tulip bulbs, which helped establish him in the nursery and gardening business.
Vander Zalm started his political career in 1965 when he was elected alderman for the city of Surrey. He became mayor in 1969, a position he held until 1975. At this time, welfare was the responsibility of the municipality and Bill's tenure as mayor was marked by his crackdown on "welfare deadbeats".

Bill joined the BC Social Credit Party in 1974 after losing faith in the Liberal party.

In 1975, Vander Zalm was elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for the riding of Surrey. From 1975 to 1978, he served as Minister of Human Resources and continued his crusade against welfare fraud. In fact, when Bill was sworn in, the media asked him to comment on what the public could expect regarding those on welfare. Here's what he said:

"If people are truly in need, they can expect and will be treated fairly and compassionately. If people are elderly we will treat them with respect and when in need reward them for their lifelong contributions. If people are handicapped they will be treated generously, hopefully even more so than in the past. But if someone is able to work and refuses to do so, they had best pick up a shovel or I'll give them a shovel."

I have to tell you that I agree with that.  Premier Gordon Campbell tried to clear those on welfare that were abusing the system and it caused an uproar. He was asking that those on welfare disability reprove that he or she were still disabled. I am on private disability and I have had to do that numerous times. But certain groups said that wasn't fair. I think it is.

On June 22, 1978, the Victoria Daily Times published a cartoon that portrayed Vander Zalm as a sadist snapping the wings of flies. Bill didn't find the humour behind Bob Bierman's cartoon and sued the paper. In the case of Vander Zalm vs Times Publishers, Justice Craig Munro of the B.C. Supreme Court awarded Vander Zalm $3,500 in damages. This verdict was later overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal in 1980. The National Archives of Canada purchased the cartoon for $350.

From 1978 to 1981, Vander Zalm was Minister of Municipal Affairs and Transit and Minister of Education from 1981 to 1983.

Friday, I will tell you more about Bill Vander Zalm. Thanks to Wikipedia for the information on Bill.

Have a safe and happy Halloween.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Another Bennett

Construction of the Statue of Liberty in 1884.
A photo of Roy O and Walt Disney on the day Disney Studios opened.

Samurai taken between 1860 and 1880.
Albert Einstein's 1896 report card.

Continuing my look at B.C. premiers, today I am telling you about Bill Bennett, the 27th premier.

William Richards Bennett was born on April 14, 1932. He is the son of W.A.C. Bennett and reportedly the third cousin, twice removed, of former Prime Minister of Canada, R.B. Bennett. Is it any wonder that the man went into politics?

Bill Bennett - or Mini-Wac as some called him - was elected as leader of the Socred party in November of 1973. He isn't his father though. Bill set about establishing a political organization that was closely modelled on Bill Davis's Ontario "Big Blue Machine". In fact, Bennett's political group was referred to as the "Baby Blue Machine". Instead of appealing to the populist base as his father had done, Bill embraced a coalition of Liberals, social conservatives and the corporate sector.
In the 1975 election, Bennett and his Socreds defeated the NDP and Premier Dave Barrett.  And although Bennett's contained an array of politicians new to the provincial scene, some of these people went on to become B.C.'s most prominent political players. People like Grace McCarthy, Bill Vander Zalm, Garde Gardom and Rafe Mair.

Bennett's government passed a series of laws in 1983, which slashed social services and gutted labour laws. This "Restraint" program provoked a general strike that further crippled the province's economy. Bennett blamed many of the province's problems squarely on the shoulders of public school teachers and that split the electorate. In television interviews, Mini-Wac labelled those who disagreed with his policies, "Bad British Columbians".

However, his apparently anti-socialist government spent hundreds of millions of dollars to bring the 1986 World Exposition to Vancouver, distributed free shares to British Columbians for the British Columbia Resource Investment Corporation and spent hundreds of millions of dollars constructing the Coquihalla Highway, using the controversial non-union Kerkhoff Construction Company as the main contractor.
Bill Bennett's government spent over $1 billion on the Northeast Coal Project in an attempt to create jobs. Critics stated that in order to create 1,000 jobs, it cost the taxpayers of the province $1 million each. Yet, when the project was reviewed in 2000 by the press, it was found to be a very successful venture. Northeast Coal returned twice the revenues that were expanded in its lifetime.

Bennett served as premier until August 6, 1986 when he was replaced by William N. Vander Zalm.

Bennett remains respected among conservatives of B.C. who view his tenure as a "golden era" before the disaster of years ahead. In 2007, Bill was appointed to the Order of British Columbia, B.C.'s highest award for achievement. And the new replacement bridge across the Okanagan Lake is named after him.

I consulted Wikipedia for the information on this former premier so thank you. And, again, thanks to my mother and her friend Wes for the old photos.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Dave Barrett

In 1941, a reindeer watches as World War II planes drops bombs in Russia.
See the guy in the bell bottoms that is second from the left? That is a 14-year old Osama Bin Laden. 
Child labourers in 1880.
On October 2, 1930, in Vancouver, BC, David Barrett was born. This man, more commonly known as Dave Barrett, would go on to become the province's 26th premier. And the first ever NDP premier.

In the 1960 election, Barrett was elected to the British Columbia legislature as a Co-operative Commonwealth Federation member for the electoral district of Dewdney. Barrett was a civil servant at that the time, which meant he had to fight to be allowed to run because at the time civil servants weren't allowed to run for office.

Barrett was known for his public speaking ability and he held his seat for four elections. He ran for the provincial leadership of the New Democratic Party of British Columbia, NDP, but lost to Tom Berger. (The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation had become the NDP). In 1969, the NDP lost the election and the party had been expected to win so Berger resigned and Barrett was made party leader.
 In Rio da Janeiro, Brazil, the Christ the Redeemer statue is under construction.

Che Guevara
Grounded planes after 9/11.

California lumberjacks.

The 20 year term of the W.A.C. Bennett government was stagnating and Dave Barrett led his party to victory in 1972. Barrett became premier on September 15.

When the NDP took over, there was a surplus of monies in the government but that didn't last long and soon the province was in debt. The NDP claimed the debt wasn't their fault and was due to the fact that the party introduced modern accounting practices and the previous government had hidden huge liabilities off the books.

Barrett and his government reformed the welfare system and initiated a number of reforms such as establishing the province's Labour Relations Board and expanded the public sector. The government brought in the Agricultural Land Reserve to protect farm land in BC and formed the Insurance Company of British Columbia to provide government car insurance. (Both the ALR and ICBC are still operating.) The NDP also made the government more democratic by establishing a questions period and providing full Hansard transcripts of the legislative proceedings.

The NDP passed a new law on average of every three days while they were in power. This was enough to cause the centre and centre-right to unite under the Social Credit banner to oppose the NDP.
More lumberjacks and California Redwoods.

The employee cafeteria at Disneyland in 1961.
Martin Luther King Jr. removing a burned cross from his lawn with his son.

The beginning of an empire. A young Bill Gates and Microsoft staff in 1978.

Barrett called a snap election in 1975 and was defeated by the Social Credit party, led by W.A.C. Bennett's son, Bill Bennett. Bennett's campaign focused on the NDP's handling of provincial finances. 

The NDP had more votes in raw numbers in the 1975 election but less of a percentage. Its support outside of the Vancouver area dropped considerably, costing the party 20 seats and Barrett lost his Coquitlam seat, which he had held since its creation in 1965. In June of 1976, Barrett returned to the legislature in a by-election in Vancouver East. He remained in that riding until 1984.

In 1988, Barrett was elected as Member of Parliament for the riding of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca (federal government). He ran for leadership of the federal NDP but lost in a narrow margin on the fourth ballot.  Dave Barrett argued during his campaign that the party should be concerned with western alienation rather than focusing its attention on Quebec. This stand caused controversy in the party with certain members threatening to quit if Barrett was elected leader.

During the party leadership race, rival candidate Simon De Jong, told Barrett he would support him in exchange for being named party whip. Unfortunately, the CBC was filming a documentary on the convention and De Jong was wearing a microphone at the time. The backroom discussion became national news.
See the man in the background standing between the tree trunk and tank? That is the man who stood against a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in 1914. Their murders later that day would spark World War I.
The Beatles and Muhammad Ali.

In 1912, this is the first photo of the discovery of Machu Pichu.

Not only did Barrett make history by being the first NDP premier, on October 16, 1983, he made history again. He was the first member of legislature who had to be forcibly removed from the Legislative Assembly for not following the Speaker's ruling.

Thanks Mom and Wes for the photos. And to Wikepdia for the information on Dave Barrett. I didn't put down a death date because Barrett is still alive and living in Esquimalt. He is apparently the oldest living premier of B.C.

Bill and Hilary Clinton playing volleyball in 1975.

Mississippi steamboats in 1907.
1911. Times Square in New York.
Arnold Schwarzenegger the day he received his American citizenship.

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