Our brand new Premier David Eby has a big job ahead, and he’s hit the floor running. His priorities are health, housing and crime. Let’s wish him well.
Based on 70-plus years of following politics, especially provincial politics, I believe Social Credit’s W.A.C. Bennett and NDP’s Dave Barrett are the best of the premier bunch (12 in my time, not counting Horgan or Eby.) Neither was perfect, nor always well-liked, no politician ever is, but they made B.C. a better place to live.
Both accomplished more than can be listed here. W.A.C., our longest serving Premier (1952-1972) created impressive transportation systems (Highways, BC Rail and BC Ferries.) He started BC Hydro, Victoria and Simon Fraser Universities, a number of health programs and many other benefits we now take for granted.
In his three years as premier, (1972-1975) Barrett changed B.C. by reforming the welfare system, by establishing the Labour Relations Board, the Agricultural Land Reserve, ICBC, pharmacare, the human rights code, the BC Human Rights Commission, and the provincial ambulance service.
He also introduced question period to the Legislature and full Hansard transcripts of legislative proceedings.
In my opinion, after his five years in office, John Horgan belongs with the “making B.C. better” premiers. He held steady through the unprecedented floods, fires, heat domes, and a worldwide pandemic. (The right person for the time?)
His was the first provincial government to adopt UNDRIP ( Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.) He cut ICBC rates and childcare costs and improved support for children in provincial care. He stopped big money donations to political parties from corporations and unions. He has a climate plan, and forest tenure revisions are in the works, etc.
All things considered, our 36th Premier did well for us. Thank you, John.
Diana French is a former Tribune editor and book author.