Leaders of the Opposition in BC

I am going to some pages on political history in BC and I thought I would start with the leaders of the official opposition, a couple of them were not officially recognized because the caucus was not large enough.

Party affiliation started in BC in 1903, before then BC governments were chosen by the MLAs in the legislature after the election.   In elections before 1903 even though there were no political parties, it was obvious in most elections which candidates were for the government and which were not.

Names in bold are people that also served as premier.
  1. Oct 1903 - Oct 1909 James Alexander Macdonald  - Liberal - stepped down because he was named chief justice of BC
  2. Jan 1910 - Mar 1910 James Hurst Hawthornwaite - Socialist - caucus of 2
  3. Mar 1912 - Mar 1912 Harlen Brewster - Liberal - He have elected party leader in March 1912, but  the Liberals won no seats in  the March 1912 election
  4. Mar 1912 - Mar 1916 Parker Williams - Socialist - caucus of 1
  5. Mar 1916 - Sept 1916 Harlen Brewster - Liberal - He served as leader of the opposition after he returned to the house in a by-election in 1916.  He was the first Liberal Premier of BC from November 23 1916 till March 1 1918 when he died in office at age 47.  He brought in prohibition in BC but also gave women the vote.  He is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery along with 11 other BC premiers
  6. Nov 1916 - Aug 1924 William Bowser - Conservative - he was the sitting premier going into the 1916 election
  7. Aug 1924 - July 1928 Robert Henry Pooley - Conservative - He was not the party leader but Simon Fraser Tolmie did not win a seat in the house till the 1928 election.
  8. Jan 1929 - Nov 1933 Duff Patullo - Liberal
  9. Nov 1933 - June 1937 Robert Connell - CCF till July 1936 then Social Constructive.  The CCF came out of nowhere to win 7 out of 47 seats.  The party had no leader and chose Connell when the caucus met.  In 1936 the CCF held a vote of non-confidence in his leadership and he lost 138 to 76.  4 MLAs joined the Social Constructives and 3 remained CCF under Harold Winch
  10. June 1937 - Feb 1938 Frank Porter Patterson - Conservative  He died February 10 1938.
  11. Sept 1938 - Oct 1941 Pat Maitland - Conservative  He negotiated the coalition government with the Liberals and went from a third place finish in the 1941 election to being a cabinet member
  12. Oct 1941 - Feb 1952 Harold Winch - CCF - He was leader of the CCF from 1936 to 1953, the longest term for any leader of the CCF or NDP in BC.
  13. Feb 1952 - June 1953 Herbert Anscomb - Progressive Conservative - When the coalition ended the Progressive Conservatives emerged with a larger caucus than the CCF and took over as official opposition
  14. June 1952 - Mar 1953 Harold Winch - CCF
  15. Apr 1953 - Mar 1956 Arnold Webster - CCF
  16. Apr 1956 - Apr 1969 Bob Strachan - CCF then NDP
  17. Apr 1969 - Sep 1969 Tom Berger - NDP - He was widely expected to win the 1969 election but lost seats in the election.   Public opinion polls were not allowed at the time so no one as certain how the election would go.
  18. Sep 1969 - Aug 1972 Dave Barrett - NDP
  19. Sep 1972 - Nov 1973 WAC Bennett - Social Credit
  20. Nov 1973 - Dec 1975 Bill Bennett - Social Credit
  21. Jan 1976 - June 1976 Bill King - NDP - Interim till Dave Barrett was re-elected
  22. June 1976 - May 1984 Dave Barrett - NDP
  23. June 1984 - Apr 1987 Bob Skelly - NDP
  24. Apr 1987 - Oct 1991 Mike Harcourt - NDP
  25. Oct 1991 - Feb 1993 Gordon Wilson - Liberal
  26. Feb 1993 - Mar 1994 Fred Gingell - Liberal - Interim during the leadership race.  He was also a close bridge playing friend of my parents
  27. Mar 1994 - June 2001 Gordon Campbell - Liberal
  28. June 2001 - June 2005 Joy MacPhail - NDP - With only two members and therefore not recognized as a party in the house, from 2001 to 2005 BC did not have an officially recognized leader of the opposition.
  29. June 2005 - Jan 2011 Carole James - NDP
  30. Jan 2011 - Apr 2011 Dawn Black - NDP - Interim during the leadership race.
  31. Apr 2011 - May 2014 Adrian Dix - NDP
  32. May 2014 - Current John Horgan - NDP
Only eight of BC's 20 premiers since 1903 have served as leader of the official opposition.

From 1933 to 1972 no leader of the official opposition became premier
Total number of leaders of the "Official" Opposition and Premiers
Party      Opposition  Premier
New Democrat   11         5
Liberal         6         8 (2 as leaders of the Coalition)
Conservative    5         3
CCF             4         0 (last CCF leader become 1st NDP leader)
Social Credit   2         4
Socialist       2         0
Social Recons   1         0

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