Monday, October 14, 2013

Simon Fraser Tolmie

B.C.'s 21st premier, Simon Fraser Tolmie, was born in Saanich on January 25, 1867. He was the son of a prominent fur trader and politician, William Fraser Tolmie. Simon's grandfather, John Work, was another prominent fur trader.

Simon trained to be a veterinary surgeon. He spent some time managing his father's farm near Victoria and was a government cattle inspector.

Simon Fraser Tolmie, photo compliments of the BC Archives.
In 1917, Simon Tolmie entered the federal political arena. He was a candidate for the Victoria riding under Prime Minister Robert Borden's Union Coalition. Tolmie won that election and two years later became the federal Minister of Agriculture. 

By 1921, the coalition had broken up. Tolmie ran as a Conservative and managed to retain his seat representing Victoria. However, this time the federal Conservatives were relegated to the opposition.

Meanwhile, back in B.C., the provincial Conservatives were having a few difficulties. In 1926, the party met to choose a new leader and no one could make a decision. The convention was deadlocked when the delegates asked Tolmie to fill the position.

Tolmie had reservations about accepting the post but accepted. In 1928, he resigned his federal seat and led the provincial Conservatives to a landslide victory against the Liberal party.

In addition to his responsibilities as premier, Tolmie was also Minister of Railways. Tolmie and his party had the idea of applying business principles to the business of government. Unfortunately, Tolmie and has party were voted in just before the Great Depression.

Simon Tolmie reacted to the financial crisis by cutting government spending and raising taxes. He formed a Royal Commission, at the request of the business community, which suggested making drastic cuts to social programs. This sent people into a panic. As the financial problems worsened, his party fractured.

In 1932, Tolmie offered to form a coalition government but he didn't have new policies to offer and his leadership was brought into question. The Conservatives went down in flames during the 1933 election; only three seats were filled by Conservatives. Tolmie retired to his farm.

In 1936, Simon Tolmie re-entered the world of federal politics, winning a Victoria by-election. However, he died six months later on October 13, 1936 in Victoria.

Tolmie has the dubious distinction of being the last Conservative premier of the 20th century.

Thanks and Not To Be Trusted With Knives websites for the above information. The photos are of New Brighton Park.

 I hope you find the beauty around you.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Dr. Hepker and thank you for your support.

  2. Fine job Karen. You keep inspiring me I might try and run for US President on a poor man's salary. Sure couldn't hurt anything!

    1. Go for it! Just don't forget to keep reading and commenting on my blog! LOL