When I left off on Wednesday, MLA Bill Vander Zalm had made waves as Minister of Human Resources. As Minister of Education, he continued to make headlines.
Vander Zalm overstepped his authority when he personally intervened in local matters in Smithers. A school councillor, Madeline Sauve, distributed a Human Resources questionnaire to students and Vander Zalm demanded she be suspended without pay. Sauve lost her job, due a lot to public pressure put on by Vander Zalm's comments. The councillor was "publicly tried and convicted without the slightest hint of due process."
However, an inquiry commission found that Sauve was an innocent victim and suggested the school board find her another job in the district. Vander Zalm stated he would do the same thing in the same situation.
Vandermania swept through the province in the 1986 election campaign. Bill and his wife, Lillian captivated the people of the province with their magnetic smiles, positive attitudes and charisma. The Social Credit party easily won another term over the NDP. Not that the party promoted a plan for running the province just a fresh start after the confrontational Bennett years.
The Socreds had been a tenuous alliance between urban fiscal conservatives and Christian conservatives in the province's Bible Belt. The fiscal conservatives had dominated the party for over a decade but under Vander Zalm, the social conservatives began to take control. Bill himself was a social conservative. His government had once tried to cut the public funding for abortions not medically necessary but the resulting uproar caused him to drop the program.
Then comes the conflict of interest controversy that Vander Zalm became embroiled in. In 1984, he had purchased a theme park, Fantasy Gardens. Tan Yu, the Taiwanese buyer, was provided with VIP treatment and lunch with the Lieutenant-Governor before the sale. Vander Zalm claimed the theme park was his wife's responsibility.
A Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur, Faye Leung, brokered the deal. She thought that Vander Zalm was a "bad man" and had secretly recorded conversations with him. Leung happily supplied these to the media.
Wikipedia for the information on Bill Vander Zalm.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Premier, history, Bill Vander Zalm, Netherlands Social Credit, Smithers, Fantasy Gardens,Surrey,