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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