Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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BC Premier #29: Mike Harcourt

Premier of the Province of British Columbia.

Mike Harcourt at City Making in Paradise Name Michael Franklin Harcourt
Born: January 6, 1943 in Edmonton, AB
Died: hasn’t
Party: NDP
Held Office: Nov 5, 1991 to Feb 22, 1996
  • earned B.A. and Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • 1973-1980: served as Vancouver alderman
  • 1980-1986: served as mayor Vancouver
    • major focus of his term as mayor was prep for Expo ’86
  • 1986: elected to BC provincial legislature
  • 1987: became the leader of NDP, and thus, the Leader of the Official Opposition
  • 1991: became premier by defeating then-Premier Rita Johnson in the provincial election
  • Feb 1996: resigned due to the “Bingogate” scandal (where an NDP party member used money raised for charity to fund the NDP. Though Harcourt wasn’t himself involved, he did the captain going done with the ship thing)
  • Nov 2002: suffered a spinal cord injury in a near-fatal accident at his cottage. Made a remarkable recovery.
  • Dec 2003: appointed special adviser on cities to then-Prime Minister Paul Martin
  • Nov 2007: awarded an Honourary Doctorate from UBC
  • has published three books:
    • A Measure of Defiance (1996)
    • Plan B: One Man’s Journey from Tragedy to Triumph (2003)
    • City Making in Paradise (2007)
  • Feb 2009: Appointed Associate Director of the UBC Continuing Studies Centre for Sustainability,

In summary, in my extensive research1, I was not able to any reference to anything that he actually did as Premier.  I’m gathering, based on the stuff he’s doing now, that he did something good for cities and sustainability, but I’ll be damned if I can find any information on what he actually did2

Image credits: Photo of Mike Harcourt at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre on June 14, 2007 posted by Richard Eriksson on Flickr.



  1. i.e., two minutes of Googling []
  2. I mean beyond his National Speaker’s Bureau bio, which says, “focus on conservation and sustainable development – and his resolve to contribute to the transformation of cities and communities around the world” – i.e., doesn’t actually say anything. []


BC Premier #23 – Boss Johnson

So, here I am blogging about yet another boring Premier of the Province of British Columbia.  But never fear, the next guy on the list is W.A.C. Bennett!  Ole’ Wacky himself!  So just get through this one and next week I’ll have something less yawn-inducing for you to read about.

File:Byron Johnson.jpg Name Byron Ingemar Johnson
Born: December 10, 1890 in Victoria, BC
Died: January 12, 1964 in Victoria, BC
Party: coaltion of the Conservatives and the Liberals
Held Office: December 29, 1947 – August 1, 1952
  • born Björn Ingemar “Bjossi” Jönsson
  • known as “Boss,” which apparently was just coincidentally to him being the boss of the province – it was an anglicization of “Bjossi,” which is a diminutive of Björn
  • served in WWI
  • was a Mason
  • 1933: elected as a Liberal MLA in Victoria City
  • 1937: lost his seat, returned to the building supply business he shared with his brother (or, he quit in 1934, returned to politics in 1937 but wasn’t elected (not sure how you “return” to politics if you aren’t elected), depending on which source you believe)
  • WWII: put in charge of building Royal Canadian Air Force facilities in BC
  • 1945: elected as an MLA in New Westminster, served as a cabinet minister in the Liberal-Conservative coalition government under Hart
  • 1947: when Hart resigned, Johnson took over as leader and thus became the premier
  • as premier he did a bunch of stuff (e.g., introduced compulsory health care and a 3% sales tax to pay for it, appointing the first female speaker in the British Commonwealth, Nancy Hodges)
  • 1949: stayed premier as the Liberal-Conservative coalition won the largest popular vote in BC history
  • 1951: the Conservatives pull out of the coalition, collapsing Johnson’s government
  • 1952: defeated by the Social Credit Party (the predecessor to the current day BC So-Called Liberal Party) (and lost his own seat to the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the predecessor party to the New Democratic Party (NDP)). This marked the end of the Liberal-Conservative coalition and the beginning of the two-party system we have to this day

In summary, we can thank Boss Johnson for our provincial health care, but blame him for two-party system.

Image credits: Accessed from Wikipedia. In the public domain. w00t!