Monday, October 21, 2013

Who's the Boss?

Byron Ingemar "Boss" Johnson
B.C.'s twenty-fourth premier was born on December 10, 1890 to Icelandic immigrants in Victoria, B.C. Björn Ingimar Bjössi Jónsson became known as Byron Ingemar, Boss, Johnson. (Boss has little to do with his personality but is the Anglicized version of his first name Bjorn)

Johnson was raised in Victoria and served overseas in World War I. After the war, Byron and his brothers opened a building supplies company in Victoria that was successful. In the 1933 provincial election, Johnson was elected as a Liberal member of the B.C. legislature but was defeated in 1937.

Byron returned to his business, being put in charge of constructing Royal Canadian Air Force facilities throughout the province during World War II. He returned to politics in 1945 as a member of the Liberal/Conservative coalition. This time he ran for a seat representing New Westminster. He was successful and became a cabinet minister eventually replacing John Hart as premier when Hart resigned in 1947.
These photos are of the roller coaster at Playland. Built in 1958, it is one of the few wooden roller coasters left in the world and, according to this site, it is arguably the best ride ever. I wouldn't know because I won't go on it!

Johnson's government was active. He introduced compulsory health insurance - raising taxes by 3% in order to pay for it. Boss expanded the highway system and extended the Pacific Great Eastern Railway. They also negotiated the Alcan agreement, which led to the first major hydroelectric project in B.C., the Kenney Dam. Byron's government declared a state of emergency in 1948 in response to the devastating Fraser River flooding and began a programme of diking the river's banks throughout the Fraser Valley. Johnson also appointed the first female speaker in the British Commonwealth, Nancy Hodges.

In the 1949 election, the Liberal-Conservative Coalition won by a landslide. They had the greatest percentage of the popular vote in BC history - 61%. Two years later though, in 1951, the Conservatives pulled out of the Coalition and Johnson's government collapsed.

In the 1952 election, W.A.C. Bennett's Social Credit Party defeated the Liberal government. This defeat brought to an end the long history of formal coalition government between the Liberal and Conservative government ended and brought in the two- party system. 

After his political defeat, Johnson returned to private life and died on January 12, 1964 at the age of 73.  He is interred at the Ross Bay Cemetery. 

Thanks goes to Wikipedia for the information on Byron Johnson.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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