Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thomas Dufferin Pattullo

Since I am writing on B.C.'s 22nd premier who was in office during the Great Depression, I am showing you some photos of what it was like back then.

Born on January 19, 1873 in Woodstock, Ontario, Thomas Dufferin "Duff" Pattullo worked at banking and newspaper editing before deciding his future lay elsewhere. Pattullo used his father's Liberal party connections in 1897 to get a job with the official delegation, which was sent by the federal government to the Yukon to establish a territorial administration.

Thomas trekked across the Chilkoot Pass and arrived in Dawson City in May of 1898. This was to be his home for the next ten years as he got married and went to work in the office of the gold commissioner. 
Pattullo's political career started in 1904 when he served a term on the Dawson City Council. Four years later, he and his family moved to Prince Rupert where Pattullo entered the world of real estate and construction. He was hoping to take advantage of the arrival of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway but his business endeavours didn't really work out. His political career flourished though.

In 1910, Thomas Pattullo was elected to Prince Rupert's first city council and served a term as mayor before being elected as a Liberal member of the legislature in 1916, a seat he would hold for 29 years.

Even though he represented Prince Rupert, Pattullo moved his family to Victoria when he joined the Liberal government as minister of lands.

Pattullo was a dapper dresser and a hard worker. In the 1920s, he emerged as the leading voice for the party. As you may remember, the Liberals lost the 1928 election and John Maclean quit so Pattullo was chosen leader of the party. In November of 1933, Pattullo and his Liberals were victorious and took over the leadership of the province.
Pattullo took over the province during the Great Depression and he believed in the necessity of state intervention. He tackled the economic crisis with a "little new deal" of reform programs including a health insurance scheme, a higher minimum wage, a program of public works, increased money to public schools and measures to ease the state of the poor and unemployed. The Pattullo Bridge across the Fraser River opened on November 15, 1937.

Thomas spent much of his time was premier arguing with Ottawa. His most ambitious plans were foiled by the federal government's inability to provided adequate financial help. His disagreements with our country's leaders culminated in a federal-provincial conference of January 1941. Pattullo along with Alberta and Ontario premiers objected to the centralist recommendations of a royal commission.

Pattullo was criticized for his apparent obstructionism, especially during wartime. These accusations followed him into the October 1941 elections and the Liberal party were reduced to a minority. Thomas Dufferin Pattullo resigned as party leader and premier, late in the year, his Liberal party voted to form a coalition with the Conservatives. He did serve as an Independent Liberal until his defeat in October of 1945.

Thomas Pattullo died in Victoria on March 29, 1956.

Thomas Dufferin "Duff" Pattullo

Thank you for the information on Thomas Dufferin Pattullo. And thank you for my mother and her high school friend for the photos of the Great Depression. It really makes you think when complaining about how hard you have it now.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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