Passing: Dave Barrett - Democratic Socialist, BC Premierby Wikipedia
February 2, 2018
David Barrett, OC OBC (October 2, 1930 – February 2, 2018), commonly known as Dave Barrett, was a politician and social worker in British Columbia, Canada. He was the 26th Premier of British Columbia for three years between 1972 and 1975.
Barrett was first elected to British Columbia's legislature in the 1960 election as a Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (soon to become the New Democratic Party of British Columbia) member for the electoral district of Dewdney.
He had been fired from his job by the provincial government in 1959 after it became known that he was running for a CCF nomination and had to fight for reinstatement as at the time civil servants were barred from running for office.
He became known for his public speaking ability and held his seat through four elections. He ran for the provincial leadership of the NDP, but lost to Tom Berger. However, Berger lost the 1969 election, a contest that the NDP had been expected to win. He resigned, and there was a quick campaign to draft Barrett as party leader.
Barrett led the NDP to its first provincial victory against the stagnating Social Credit government of W. A. C. Bennett in the 1972 election. He became Premier on September 15, 1972.
The Barrett government substantially reformed the welfare system, initiated a number of reforms such as establishing the province's Labour Relations Board, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) in order to provide public auto insurance and the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) to protect the small supply of farm land in BC, all of which were retained by subsequent Social Credit and Liberal governments. The NDP also introduced more democracy into the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia through the introduction of question period and full Hansard transcripts of legislative proceedings in the province.
On social policy, in 1973, B.C. banned corporal punishment in all schools. It also banned pay toilets, launched Pharmacare, lowered the drinking age to 19, increased the minimum wage, preserved Cypress Bowl for recreation and established the air ambulance service, passed the British Columbia Human Rights Code, consumer protection laws, and introduced French immersion in schools.
Barrett's government also introduced a mineral royalties tax which inflamed the mining industry and helped mobilize it into organizing to defeat the NDP electorally.
The NDP passed 367 bills, a new law on average every three days, while in power.