Dave Barrett

Dave Barrett
David Barrett
26th Premier of British Columbia
In office
September 15, 1972 – December 22, 1975
Preceded by William Andrew Cecil Bennett
Succeeded by William Richards Bennett
Personal details
Born October 2, 1930 ( 1930-10-02) (age 81)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Political party New Democratic Party of British Columbia
Spouse(s) Shirley Hackman
Religion Jewish

David Barrett, OC (born October 2, 1930 in Vancouver, British Columbia), commonly known as Dave Barrett, is a retired politician and social worker in British Columbia, Canada. He was the 26th Premier of British Columbia for three years between 1972 and 1975, the only Jewish premier in the province's history.


Political career

Barrett was first elected to British Columbia's legislature in the 1960 election as a Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (later to become the New Democratic Party of British Columbia) member for the electoral district of Dewdney. He had to fight to be allowed to run as he was a civil servant, 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.

His government was criticized for its spending, quickly taking the government from surplus to debt. The NDP argued that the deficit was not entirely its fault as it had introduced modern accounting practices, and were caught by the huge liabilities that the Socred government had hidden off the books.

The Barrett government substantially reformed the welfare system, initiated a number of reforms such as establishing the province's Labour Relations Board, and expanded the public sector. 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.[1] The NDP also brought in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) to protect the small supply of farm land in BC. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) was formed to provide government car insurance. Both the ALR and ICBC are still functioning.

On social policy, in 1973, B.C. banned spanking in all schools.

The NDP passed a new law on average every three days while in power. The pace of change was enough to scare the centre and centre-right into uniting together under the Social Credit banner to oppose the NDP. Social Credit gained Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from both the Conservatives and the Liberals.

Barrett called a snap election in 1975, and was defeated by the Social Credit Party, then led by W.A.C.'s son, Bill Bennett. Bennett's campaign focused on attacking the Barrett government's handling of provincial finances.

In terms of raw numbers (but not percentage), the NDP increased its popular vote in the 1975 election, it lost enough seats so it could no longer form the government. Barrett was personally defeated in the Coquitlam seat he had held since its creation in a 1965 redistribution. In June 1976, he was returned to the legislature in a by-election in Vancouver East, after sitting NDP MLA Robert A. Williams stepped aside. He remained an MLA for that riding until 1984, continuing to lead the NDP against Bennett's Socreds in the 1979 and 1983 elections.

On October 6, 1983, Barrett, as the leader of the New Democratic Party of British Columbia was forcibly removed from Chamber by Legislature Serjeant-at-Arms for failing to abide by the Speaker's ruling. This was the first incident in the legislature history where security staff had to intervene and remove a member from chamber.[2]

Barrett was elected Member of Parliament for the riding of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca in 1988.

He ran for the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party in 1989, losing narrowly on the fourth ballot to Audrey McLaughlin at the party's leadership convention. Rival candidate Simon De Jong agreed to support Barrett in exchange for being named Party Whip; unfortunately De Jong forgot that he was wearing a microphone as part of a CBC documentary on the convention and the back-room discussions leaked to the press.[3] The surrounding controversy hurt De Jong but was short-lived. During the campaign, Barrett argued that the party should be concerned with Western alienation, rather than focusing its attention on Quebec. The Quebec leadership of the NDP strongly opposed Barrett's candidacy, and future Quebec MP Phil Edmonston threatened to resign from the party if Barrett became leader.

During contentious attempts to amend Canada's constitution, Barrett opposed the 1987 Meech Lake Accord, but reluctantly endorsed the 1992 Charlottetown Accord to comply with party policy. He later referred to the party's support for the Accord as a mistake.

He lost his seat in the 1993 federal election to Reform Party candidate Keith Martin.

Political legacy

Some have felt that Barrett would have made a more effective leader than McLaughlin, since the NDP had long been the voice of western discontent, but the party had never had much of a presence in Quebec. In 1989, the Quebec New Democratic Party adopted a sovereigntist platform and severed its ties with the federal NDP. Although Edmonston would win the NDP its first seat in Quebec through a by-election, he was a Quebec nationalist who clashed with the party over its position on Canadian federalism and against decentralization and devolving powers to Quebec. Barrett's warnings about Western alienation would prove prophetic in the 1993 federal election, as the Reform Party replaced the NDP as the protest voice west of Ontario.

Post-political life

Barrett is retired from active politics but continues to give speeches on current issues from time to time. Since 2000, Barrett has served on American Income Life Insurance Company's Labour Advisory Board as an Honorary Member.[4] In 2003, he supported Bill Blaikie's bid to become leader of the federal NDP. In 2005, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.


Preceded by
Riding Created
Member of Parliament for
Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca

Succeeded by
Keith Martin
Preceded by
William R. Bennett
Leader of the Opposition
in the British Columbia Legislature

Succeeded by
Robert Skelly
Preceded by
Thomas Berger
Leader of the Opposition
in the British Columbia Legislature

Succeeded by
W.A.C. Bennett

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dave Barrett — David Barrett, OC (* 2. Oktober 1930 in Vancouver), meist Dave Barrett genannt, ist ein kanadischer Politiker. Er war von September 1972 bis Dezember 1975 Premierminister der Provinz British Columbia und Vorsitzender der British Columbia New… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dave Barrett — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Barrett. L honorable David Barrett, O.C. (né le 2 octobre 1930 à Vancouver, en Colombie Britannique) est un ancien homme politique et travailleur social canadien. Il fut premier ministre de la Colombie… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Barrett — (sometimes spelled Barret or Barratt) is a surname that has been associated with several different people, places and organisations.Barrett is a popular surname in south and west Ireland. It is most common in County Mayo and County Galway as well …   Wikipedia

  • Barrett — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom.  Pour les articles homophones, voir Barrette et Barret (homonymie). Barrett est un patronyme qui peut désigner : Aston Barrett (1946 ), bassiste …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Dave Grohl discography — Dave Grohl discography Grohl performing with Them Crooked Vultures, 2009. Releases ↙Studio albums 15 …   Wikipedia

  • Dave Creedon — Personal information Irish name Daithí Ó Críodáin Sport Dual player …   Wikipedia

  • Dave Matthews Band tours — have taken place since 1991, when the band debuted as a small rock band in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since then, Dave Matthews Band has become internationally known, performing sold out shows at stadiums and large venues throughout the world. In …   Wikipedia

  • Dave Bing — Mayor Dave Bing 70th Mayor of Detroit Incumbent Assumed office May 11, 2009 …   Wikipedia

  • Dave Stewart (baseball) — Dave Stewart Stewart on August 1, 2009. Pitcher Born: February 19, 1957 (1957 02 19) …   Wikipedia

  • Dave O'Donnell (MMA promoter) — Dave O Donnell Born London, England Residence London, England Nationality E …   Wikipedia