I’m so proud to have known, voted for and written about Dave Barrett

Posted on February 03, 2018, 1:49 am
2 mins

PHOTO: Dave Barrett and the author in February 2008.

The death yesterday at 87 of Dave Barrett, premier of British Columbia from 1972 to 1975, is a huge loss to all Canadians. While Mr. Barrett’s government served for a short time, it left Canada and British Columbia with a huge legacy that lives on nearly half a century later. Mr. Barrett’s NDP Government brought in public auto insurance, the agricultural land reserve, a provincial ambulance service, and a provincial Pharmacare system among many other life-improving ideas that can and should be imitated by other provinces. At his first cabinet meeting, he is said to have asked his ministers: “Are you here for a good time or a long time?” He meant that they should focus on accomplishing things that would prove their worth by becoming so popular they defied their opponents and survived to improve the lives of citizens, not merely on re-election. I vividly and fondly remember the night Mr. Barrett’s government was elected. I still feel the astonishment I experienced that night that a person could actually get paid for reporting something as fascinating and important as democratic politics. Mr. Barrett was one of the political heroes of my youth and remains one of my heroes to this day. I am grateful and proud to have had the opportunity to write about him, to vote for his government, and to meet him, both as a young person and, as the picture above shows, a not-so-young person. “Rest in Peace” does not seem like the right sentiment for such a vibrant, vigorous and visionary man. I’m sure Mr. Barrett is already shaking things up and making them better wherever he is now.

5 Comments to: I’m so proud to have known, voted for and written about Dave Barrett

  1. TENET

    February 3rd, 2018

    He was the best, he was was never afraid to be on the front line, he was a friend and we could count on him. Thank you Dave.

    Reply
  2. jerrymacgp

    February 3rd, 2018

    I had the privilege some years ago to hear him speak at some conference or convention, the particulars of which I no longer recall, but I do recall he was a master of the lost art of oratory. He could rouse a crowd in a way no politician today can do. Most politicians today are so boring, their speeches are positively soporific. Then, certain others with bad hair are mostly inarticulate. But the ability to speak with rhythm and animation, rather than simply drone on, has largely disappeared from politics today.

    Reply
  3. Tom P.

    February 4th, 2018

    My thoughts too Dave. As I came of age, living in BC’s Interior, he kindled my appreciation and hopes for the world of politics. I’m lucky to have met him on half a dozen occasions and like many will miss his wit and candor.

    Reply
  4. Murphy

    February 5th, 2018

    Why was Dave Barrett at the Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism in 1979 with the likes of OAS anti-Degaulle plotters and other assorted right-wing freaks like Daniel Pipes, George Will and Edward Teller? A conference in which the Israelis and the Neocons built their fallacious foundation for the Global War on Terror (TM) on the premise that the Soviets were behind it all?

    Reply

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