Skip to main content

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

RITA JOHNSTON ... 29th Premier of British Columbia and the first female premier in Canada


Tomorrow, Friday April 2nd, will mark the 30th anniversary of Rita Johnston becoming Premier of British Columbia.


No matter whether your political beliefs are in line with them, these days women becoming the leader of a province or country is no big thing; think of Alison Redford and Rachael Notley in Alberta, Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain, Kathleen Wynne in Ontario, Angela Merkel in Germany, BC’s Christy Clark, Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand, and Caroline Cochrane in the Northwest Territory just to name a few.


BUT by becoming Premier of British Columbia in 1991, Rita Johnston made history becoming the first female premier in Canada.


Johnston first held public office as a city councillor in Surrey, a position she continued until 1982. One year later (1983) she was elected as an MLA for the governing Social Credit Party, initially under Premier Bill Bennett, and went on to hold several Cabinet positions including Municipal Affairs and Transportation and Highways.


When Bill Bennet retired as Premier and leader of the Social Credit Party, in 1986, he was succeeded by Bill Vander Zalm. Regrettably, his controversial leadership and on-going scandals eventually led to his resignation.


On April 2nd, 1991 Johnston then became the Socred leader, and the 29th Premier of BC.  Under her leadership she committed to giving social issues a higher priority with “more emphasis placed on violence against women, violence against children and seniors.”


In an election called later that year Rita Johnston lost her own seat as the Social Credit government was defeated, unable to recover from the scandals that had surrounded Vander Zalm and tarnished the party. Johnston then retired from public life.


In 2009 the former Premier briefly returned to politics as she joined former federal Members of Parliament Reed Elley, Randy White, Jim Hart and John Cummins – along with Brian Peckford who had been the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador -- in an advisory role with BC's Conservatives.


In speaking about Rita Johnston, the website No Second Chances recalled the words of an unnamed by reporter who stated:

She became the leader of the Social Credit Party after her predecessor Bill Vander Zalm resigned in scandal and had just a few months to turn it around. She didn’t manage to do this, which was no huge surprise.


You know what they say, when a political party is really desperate, they turn to a woman and get her to run the thing. In Canada, that really started with Johnston.”


Rita Johnston was a woman who upon taking on the role as Premier was initially dubbed Premier Mom, and like any mother, she worked hard to serve the people of BC starting first in her early days on Surrey City council, through to her time in the legislature in Victoria.


Thank you, Rita, for your service.


Popular posts from this blog

It seems the call for blood donors is being responded to, however ... “This effort is a marathon, not a sprint” says Canadian Blood Services

A week and a half ago I wrote the commentary ... “ While the national inventory is currently strong, an increase in blood donor cancellations is a warning sign of potential challenges to maintaining a health inventory of blood ” It was written as a result of talk about a potential blood shortage that would occur if people stopped donating due to the COVID-19 virus. It seems the call to Canadians was responded to, however, as I was told this afternoon ... “ T his effort is a marathon, not a sprint ”. As it now stands now, donors are able to attend clinics which are held in Vancouver (2), Victoria, Surrey, and in Kelowna, so I asked if there any plans to re-establish traveling clinics to others communities - for example in Kamloops, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Revelstoke or Cranbrook, and perhaps further north at perhaps Ft. St. John? According to Communications Lead Regional Public Affairs Specialist Marcelo Dominguez, Canadian Blood Services is still on

FEDLSTED -- Rules will have to relax-- the question is how and when

The media has created a fervour over the mathematical models that allegedly help governments predict the future of Coronavirus infections in the general population. Mathematical modelling has limited use and value. We need to understand is that the data available on Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in Canada is far too small for statistical reliability. The data available for the whole world is useless due to variables in how nations responded to Coronavirus infections. There is no commonality in steps taken to combat virus spread and no similarity in the age demographics of world nations, so the numbers you see on the daily tracking of world infections are not useful in developing a model of infection rates that can be relied on. Mathematical models of the future spread of Coronavirus are better than nothing, but not a whole lot better.  Mathematical models must include assumptions on virus spreads, and various factors involved. As they are used in projections, a small erro

WUN FEATHER -- can we just put those two names to bed for a while? You can call me an ‘Indian’ and I won't mind. And let's not call the farmers and ranchers ‘Settlers’ anymore

Hey there # TeamCanada !   I can't take it any more! Well, I guess I can, but I don't want to. I want to talk about the names we call each other. My very best friends, and all my Elderly Aunts and Uncles call me an Indian. I have walked into the most magnificent dining hall at the Air Liquide Head office, Quai D'orsay in Paris, France, surrounded by the worlds top producing Cryogenics team, and Patrick Jozon, the President of Air Liquide, has seen me enter the room, and yelled: " Bonjour! There is Warren! He is my Indian friend from Canada! He and I chased Beavers together in Northern BC!" And over 400 people turned to look at me and then they all smiled, and nodded. To most European people, an Indian is an absolute ICON!   The ultimate symbol of North America. They love us. And then, one time I had just gotten married and took vacation days off to take my new wife to meet my Grandmother; I was so proud. But as soon a


Show more