By , the Cariboo Gold Rush , attracting an additional miners, was underway, and Douglas hastened construction of the Great North Road commonly known now as the Cariboo Wagon Road up the Fraser Canyon to the prospecting region around Barkerville. By the time of this gold rush, the character of the colony was changing, as a more stable population of British colonists settled in the region, establishing businesses, opening sawmills , and engaging in fishing and agriculture. With this increased stability, objections to the colony's absentee governor and the lack of responsible government began to be vocalised, led by the influential editor of the New Westminster British Columbian and future premier , John Robson.
A series of petitions requesting an assembly were ignored by Douglas and the colonial office until Douglas was eased out of office in Finally, the colony would have both an assembly and a resident governor. A series of gold rushes in various parts of the province followed, the largest being the Cariboo Gold Rush in , forcing the colonial administration into deeper debt as it struggled to meet the extensive infrastructure needs of far-flung boom communities like Barkerville and Lillooet , which sprang up overnight.
The Vancouver Island colony was facing financial crises of its own, and pressure to merge the two eventually succeeded in , when the colony of British Columbia was amalgamated with the Colony of Vancouver Island to form the Colony of British Columbia —71 , which was, in turn, succeeded by the present day province of British Columbia following the Canadian Confederation of Several factors motivated this agitation, including the fear of annexation to the United States, the overwhelming debt created by rapid population growth, the need for government-funded services to support this population, and the economic depression caused by the end of the gold rush.
With the agreement by the Canadian government to extend the Canadian Pacific Railway to British Columbia and to assume the colony's debt, British Columbia became the sixth province to join Confederation on July 20, The borders of the province were not completely settled. The Treaty of Washington sent the Pig War San Juan Islands Border dispute to arbitration in and in , the province's territory shrank again after the Alaska boundary dispute settled the vague boundary of the Alaska Panhandle.
Population in British Columbia continued to expand as the province's mining , forestry , agriculture , and fishing sectors were developed. Mining activity was particularly notable throughout the Mainland, particularly in the Boundary Country , in the Slocan , in the West Kootenay around Trail , the East Kootenay the southeast corner of the province , the Fraser Canyon, the Cariboo , the Omineca and the Cassiar , so much so a common epithet for the Mainland, even after provincehood, was "the Gold Colony".
Agriculture attracted settlers to the fertile Fraser Valley, and cattle ranchers and later fruit growers came to the drier grasslands of the Thompson River area, the Cariboo, the Chilcotin , and the Okanagan. Forestry drew workers to the lush temperate rainforests of the coast, which was also the locus of a growing fishery. The completion of the railway in was a huge boost to the province's economy, facilitating the transportation of the region's considerable resources to the east. The milltown of Granville, known as Gastown , near the mouth of the Burrard Inlet was selected as the terminus of the railway, prompting the incorporation of the City as Vancouver in The completion of the Port of Vancouver spurred rapid growth, and in less than fifty years the city surpassed Winnipeg , Manitoba , as the largest in Western Canada.
The early decades of the province were ones in which issues of land use—specifically, its settlement and development—were paramount. This included expropriation from First Nations people of their land, control over its resources, as well as the ability to trade in some resources such as the fishery.
Establishing a labour force to develop the province was problematic from the start, and British Columbia was the locus of immigration from Europe, China, Japan and India. The influx of a non- Caucasian population stimulated resentment from the dominant ethnic groups, resulting in agitation much of it successful to restrict the ability of Asian people to immigrate to British Columbia through the imposition of a head tax. This resentment culminated in mob attacks against Chinese and Japanese immigrants in Vancouver in and The subsequent Komagata Maru incident in , where hundreds of Indians were denied entry into Vancouver, was also a direct result of the anti-Asian resentment at the time.
By , almost all Chinese immigration had been blocked except for merchants, professionals, students and investors. Meanwhile, the province continued to grow. This opened up the North Coast and the Bulkley Valley region to new economic opportunities. What had previously been an almost exclusively fur trade and subsistence economy soon became a locus for forestry, farming, and mining.
About 55, of the , British Columbian residents, the highest per-capita rate in Canada, responded to the military needs.
Horseriders from the province's Interior region and First Nations soldiers made contributions to Vimy Ridge and other battles. About 6, men from the province died in combat. When the men returned from the First World War , they discovered the recently enfranchised women of the province had helped vote in the prohibition of liquor in an effort to end the social problems associated with the hard-core drinking Vancouver and the rest of the province was famous for until the war. Because of pressure from veterans, prohibition was quickly relaxed so the "soldier and the working man" could enjoy a drink, but widespread unemployment among veterans was hardened by many of the available jobs being taken by European immigrants and disgruntled veterans organized a range of "soldier parties" to represent their interests, variously named Soldier-Farmer, Soldier-Labour, and Farmer-Labour Parties.
These formed the basis of the fractured labour-political spectrum that would generate a host of fringe leftist and rightist parties, including those who would eventually form the Co-operative Commonwealth and the early Social Credit splinter groups.
The advent of prohibition in the United States created new opportunities, and many found employment or at least profit in cross-border liquor smuggling. Much of Vancouver's prosperity and opulence in the s results from this "pirate economy", although growth in forestry, fishing and mining continued. By the end of the s, the end of prohibition in the U. Compounding the already dire local economic situation, tens of thousands of men from colder parts of Canada swarmed into Vancouver, creating huge hobo jungles around False Creek and the Burrard Inlet rail yards , including the old Canadian Pacific Railway mainline right-of-way through the heart of the city's downtown at Hastings and Carrall.
Increasingly desperate times led to intense political organizing efforts, an occupation of the main Post Office at Granville and Hastings which was violently put down by the police and an effective imposition of martial law on the docks for almost three years.
A Vancouver contingent for the On-to-Ottawa Trek was organized and seized a train, which was loaded with thousands of men bound for the capital but was met by a Gatling gun straddling the tracks at Mission ; the men were arrested and sent to work camps for the duration of the Depression. There were some signs of economic life beginning to return to normal towards the end of the s, but it was the onset of World War II which transformed the national economy and ended the hard times of the Depression.
Because of the war effort, women entered the workforce as never before. British Columbia has long taken advantage of its location on the Pacific Ocean to have close relations with East Asia. However, this has often caused friction between cultures which have caused occasional displays of animosity toward Asian immigrants. This was most manifest during the Second World War when many people of Japanese descent were relocated or interned in the Interior of the province. Pattullo was unwilling to form a coalition with the rival Conservatives led by Royal Maitland and was replaced by Hart, who formed a coalition cabinet made up of five Liberal and three Conservative ministers.
The pretext for continuing the coalition after the end of the Second World War was to prevent the CCF, which had won a surprise victory in Saskatchewan in , from ever coming to power in British Columbia. The CCF's popular vote was high enough in the election that they were likely to have won three-way contests and could have formed government.
However, the coalition prevented that by uniting the anti- socialist vote. In the reins of the Coalition were taken over by Byron Ingemar Johnson. The Conservatives had wanted their new leader Herbert Anscomb to be premier, but the Liberals in the Coalition refused.
This victory was attributable to the popularity of his government's spending programmes, despite rising criticism of corruption and abuse of power. During his tenure, major infrastructures continued to expand, such as the agreement with Alcan Aluminum to build the town of Kitimat with an aluminum smelter and the large Kemano Hydro Project.
Increasing tension between the Liberal and Conservative coalition partners led the Liberal Party executive to vote to instruct Johnson to terminate the arrangement. Johnson ended the coalition and dropped his Conservative cabinet ministers, including Deputy Premier and Finance minister Herbert Anscomb, precipitating the general election of The intent of the ballot, as campaigned for by Liberals and Conservatives, was that their supporters would list the rival party in lieu of the CCF, but this plan backfired when a large group of voters from all major parties, including the CCF, voted for the fringe British Columbia Social Credit Party Socreds , who wound up with the largest number of seats in the House 19 , only one seat ahead of the CCF, despite the CCF having Bennett , formed a minority government backed by the Liberals and Conservatives with 6 and 4 seats respectively.
Retrieved January 25, I also have a camping site for any Christian who do their fellowship. Retrieved January 15, The City of Vancouver has taken a number of steps to become a sustainable city. The Globe and Mail.
Secure with that majority, Bennett returned the province to the first-past-the-post system thereafter, which is still in use. With the election of the Social Credit Party, British Columbia embarked on a phase of rapid economic development. Bennett and his party governed the province for the next twenty years, during which time the government initiated an ambitious programme of infrastructure development, fuelled by a sustained economic boom in the forestry, mining, and energy sectors.
During these two decades, the government nationalized British Columbia Electric and the British Columbia Power Company, as well as smaller electric companies, renaming the entity BC Hydro. West Kootenay Power and Light remained independent of BC Hydro, being owned and operated by Cominco , though tied into the regional power grid. By the end of the s, several major dams had been begun or completed in—among others—the Peace , Columbia, and Nechako River watersheds the Nechako Diversion to Kemano , was to supply power to the Alcan Inc.
The province's economy was also boosted by unprecedented growth in the forest sector, as well as oil and gas development in the province's northeast. The s and s were also marked by development in the province's transportation infrastructure. In , the government established BC Ferries as a crown corporation , to provide a marine extension of the provincial highway system, also supported by federal grants as being part of the Trans-Canada Highway system.
That system was improved and expanded through the construction of new highways and bridges, and paving of existing highways and provincial roads. Vancouver and Victoria became cultural centres as poets, authors, artists, musicians, as well as dancers, actors, and haute cuisine chefs flocked to the beautiful scenery and warmer temperatures, with the cultural and entrepreneurial community notably bolstered by many Draft dodgers from the United States. Similarly, these cities have either attracted or given rise to their own noteworthy academics, commentators, and creative thinkers.
The rise of Japan and other Pacific economies was a great boost to British Columbia's economy, primarily because of massive exports of lumber products and unprocessed coal and trees. Politically and socially, the s brought a period of significant social ferment. The divide between the political left and right, which had prevailed in the province since the Depression and the rise of the labour movement , sharpened as so-called free enterprise parties coalesced into the de facto coalition represented by Social Credit—in opposition to the social democratic New Democratic Party , the successor to the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation.
As the province's economy blossomed, so did labour-management tensions. Tensions emerged, also, from the counterculture movement of the late s, of which Vancouver and Nanaimo were centres. The conflict between hippies and Vancouver mayor Tom Campbell was particularly legendary, culminating in the Gastown riots of By the end of the decade, with social tensions and dissatisfaction with the status quo rising, the Bennett government's achievements could not stave off its growing unpopularity.
On August 27, , the Social Credit Party was re-elected in a general election for what would be Bennett's final term in power. At the start of the s, the economy was quite strong because of rising coal prices and an increase in annual allowable cuts in the forestry sector. Under Barrett, the large provincial surplus soon became a deficit, [ citation needed ] although changes to the accounting system makes it likely some of the deficit was carried over from the previous Social Credit regime and its " two sets of books ", as WAC Bennett had once referred to his system of fiscal management.
The brief three-year "Thousand Days" period of NDP governance brought several lasting changes to the province, most notably the creation of the Agricultural Land Reserve, intended to protect farmland from redevelopment, and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia , a crown corporation charged with a monopoly on providing single-payer basic automobile insurance. Perceptions the government had instituted reforms either too swiftly or that were too far-reaching, coupled with growing labour disruptions led to the ouster of the NDP in the general election.
Social Credit, under W.
Bennett's son, Bill Bennett , was returned to office. Towards the end of his tenure in power, Bennett oversaw the completion of several megaprojects meant to stimulate the economy and win votes — unlike most right-wing parties, British Columbia's Social Credit actively practised government stimulation of the economy. Most notable of these was the winning of a world's fair for Vancouver, which came in the form of Expo 86 , to which was tied the construction of the Coquihalla Highway and Vancouver's SkyTrain system.
The Coquihalla Highway project became the subject of a scandal after revelations the premier's brother bought large tracts of land needed for the project before it was announced to the public, and also because of graft investigations of the huge cost overruns on the project. Both investigations were derailed in the media by a still further scandal, the Doman Scandal , in which the premier and millionaire backer Herb Doman were investigated for insider-trading and securities fraud. Nonetheless, the Socreds were re-elected in under Bennett, who led the party until As the province entered a sustained recession , Bennett's popularity and media image were in decline.
On April 1, , Premier Bennett overstayed his constitutional limits of power by exceeding the legal tenure of a government, and the Lieutenant-Governor , Henry Pybus Bell-Irving , was forced to call Bennett to Government House to resolve the impasse, and an election was called for April 30, while in the meantime government cheques were covered by special emergency warrants as the Executive Council no longer had signing authority because of the constitutional crisis.
Campaigning on a platform of moderation, Bennett won an unexpected majority. After several weeks of silence in the aftermath, a sitting of the House was finally called and in the speech from the throne the Socreds instituted a programme of fiscal cutbacks dubbed "restraint", which had been a buzzword for moderation during the campaign. The programme included cuts to "motherhood" issues of the left, including the human rights branch, the offices of the Ombudsman and Rentalsman, women's programs, environmental and cultural programs, while still supplying mass capital infusions to corporate British Columbia.
This sparked a backlash, with tens of thousands of people in the streets the next day after the budget speech, and through the course of a summer repeated large demonstrations of up to , people. This became known as the Solidarity Crisis , from the name of the Solidarity Coalition , a huge grassroots opposition movement mobilized, consisting of organized labour and community groups, with the British Columbia Federation of Labour forming a separate organization of unions, Operation Solidarity , under the direction of Jack Munro , then-President of the International Woodworkers of America IWA , the most powerful of the province's resource unions.
Tens of thousands participated in protests and many felt a general strike would be the inevitable result unless the government backed down from its policies they had claimed were only about restraint and not about recrimination against the NDP and the left. Just as a strike at Pacific Press ended, which had crippled the political management of the public agenda by the publishers of the province's major papers, the movement collapsed after an apparent deal was struck by union leader and IWA president, Jack Munro and Premier Bennett.
A tense winter of blockades at various job sites around the province ensued, as among the new laws were those enabling non-union labour to work on large projects and other sensitive labour issues, with companies from Alberta and other provinces brought in to compete with union-scale British Columbia companies. Despite the tension, Bennett's last few years in power were relatively peaceful as economic and political momentum grew on the megaprojects associated with Expo, and Bennett was to end his career by hosting Prince Charles and Lady Diana on their visit to open Expo His retirement being announced, a Social Credit convention was scheduled for the Whistler Resort, which came down to a three-way shooting match between Bud Smith, the Premier's right-hand man but an unelected official, Social Credit party grande dame Grace McCarthy , and the charismatic but eccentric Bill Vander Zalm.
Bill Vander Zalm became the new Socred leader when Smith threw his support to him rather than see McCarthy win, and led the party to victory in the election later that year. Vander Zalm was later involved in a conflict of interest scandal following the sale of Fantasy Gardens , a Christian and Dutch culture theme park built by the Premier, to Tan Yu , a Filipino Chinese gambling kingpin. There were also concerns over Yu's application to the government for a bank licence, and lurid stories from flamboyant realtor Faye Leung of a party in the "Howard Hughes Suite" on the top two floors of the Bayshore Inn , where Tan Yu had been staying, with reports of a bag of money in a brown paper bag passed from Yu to Vander Zalm during the goings-on.
These scandals forced Vander Zalm's resignation, and Rita Johnston became premier of the province. Johnston presided over the end of Social Credit power, calling an election which led to the reducing of the party's caucus to only two seats, and the revival of the long-defunct British Columbia Liberal Party as Opposition to the victorious NDP under former Vancouver mayor Mike Harcourt.
Johnston lost the general election to the NDP, under the leadership of Mike Harcourt, a former mayor of Vancouver. The NDP's unprecedented creation of new parkland and protected areas was popular and helped boost the province's growing tourism sector.
However, the economy continued to struggle against the backdrop of a weak resource economy. Housing starts and an expanded service sector saw growth overall through the decade, despite political turmoil. Harcourt ended up resigning over " Bingogate "—a political scandal involving the funnelling of charity bingo receipts into party coffers in certain ridings. Harcourt was not implicated, but he resigned nonetheless in respect of constitutional conventions calling for leaders under suspicion to step aside. More scandals dogged the party, most notably the Fast Ferry Scandal involving the province trying to develop the shipbuilding industry in British Columbia.
An allegation never substantiated that the Premier had received a favour in return for granting a gaming licence led to Clark's resignation as premier. He was succeeded on an interim basis by Dan Miller who was in turn followed by Ujjal Dosanjh following a leadership convention. Campbell instituted various reforms and removed some of the NDP's policies including scrapping the "fast ferries" project, lowering income taxes, and the controversial sale of BC Rail to CN Rail.
Campbell was also the subject of criticism after he was arrested for driving under the influence during a vacation in Hawaii. However, Campbell still managed to lead his party to victory in the general election, against a substantially strengthened NDP opposition. Campbell won a third term in the provincial election , marking the first time in 23 years a premier has been elected to a third term.
The province won a bid to host the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler. As promised in his re-election campaign, Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell staged a non-binding civic referendum regarding the hosting of the Olympics. In February , Vancouver's residents voted in a referendum accepting the responsibilities of the host city should it win its bid. Sixty-four percent of residents voted in favour of hosting the games. After the Olympic joy had faded, Campbell's popularity started to fall.
His management style, the implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax HST against election promises and the cancelling of the BC Rail corruption trial lead to low approval ratings and loss of caucus support. He would resign in November and call on the party to elect a new leader. Though she was not a sitting MLA, she went on to win the seat left vacant by Campbell and form a government.
For the next two years, she attempted to distance herself from the unpopularity of Campbell and forge an image for the upcoming election. Among her early accomplishments were raising the minimum wage, creating the new holiday of Family Day, and pushing the development of BC's liquified natural gas.
In the election, the Liberals lagged behind the NDP with a double-digit gap in the polls, but were able to come to a surprise victory on election night with a majority, making Clark the first elected female premier in BC history. Her government would go on to balance the budget, implement changes to liquor laws and continue with the question of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines. He is the province's first NDP premier in 16 years. British Columbia has also been significantly affected by demographic changes within Canada and around the world.
Vancouver and to a lesser extent some other parts of British Columbia was a major destination for many of the immigrants from Hong Kong who left the former UK colony either temporarily or permanently in the years immediately prior to its handover to the People's Republic of China. British Columbia has also been a significant destination for internal Canadian migrants. This has been the case throughout recent decades, because of its image of natural beauty, mild climate and relaxed lifestyle, but is particularly true during periods of economic growth.
These two metropolitan regions have traditionally dominated the demographics of BC. The net number of people coming to BC from other provinces has grown almost four times larger since BC was the largest net recipient of interprovincial migrants in Canada in the first quarter of with half of the 5, people coming from Alberta. All items are self-identified. The largest denominations by number of adherents according to the census were none atheist, agnostic, and so on.
Of the 4,, population counted by the census, 4,, people completed the section about language. Of these 4,, gave singular responses to the question regarding mother tongue. The languages most commonly reported were the following:. Numerous other languages were also counted, but only languages with more than 2, native speakers are shown. Figures shown are for the number of single language responses and the percentage of total single-language responses. The metropolitan area has seventeen Indian reserves , but they are outside of the regional district's jurisdiction and are not represented in its government.
The metropolitan area also includes several Indian reserves the governments of which are not part of the regional district. Almost half of the Vancouver Island population is in Greater Victoria. BC's economy is diverse, with service-producing industries accounting for the largest portion of the province's GDP. Its climate encourages outdoor recreation and tourism , though its economic mainstay has long been resource extraction , principally logging, farming, and mining.
Vancouver, the province's largest city, serves as the headquarters of many western-based natural resource companies. It also benefits from a strong housing market and a per capita income well above the national average. While the coast of British Columbia and some valleys in the south-central part of the province have mild weather, the majority of its land mass experiences a cold-winter-temperate climate similar to the rest of Canada. The Northern Interior region has a subarctic climate with very cold winters.
The climate of Vancouver is by far the mildest winter climate of the major Canadian cities, with nighttime January temperatures averaging above the freezing point. Many areas outside of metropolitan areas, however, are still heavily reliant on resource extraction. The economic history of British Columbia is replete with tales of dramatic upswings and downswings , and this boom and bust pattern has influenced the politics, culture and business climate of the province.
Economic activity related to mining in particular has widely fluctuated with changes in commodity prices over time, with documented costs to community health. During the absence of the Lieutenant-Governor , the Governor General in Council may appoint an administrator to execute the duties of the office.
In practice, this is usually the Chief Justice of British Columbia. British Columbia has an member elected Legislative Assembly, elected by the plurality voting system , though in recent years there has been significant debate about switching to a single transferable vote system. The government of the day appoints ministers for various portfolios, what are officially part of the Executive Council of British Columbia cabinet , of whom the premier is chair.
No party met the minimum of 44 seats for a majority, therefore leading to the first minority government since Following the election, the Greens entered into negotiations with both the Liberals and NDP, eventually announcing they would support the current NDP minority.
Previously, the right-of-centre British Columbia Liberal Party governed the province for sixteen years between and , and won the largest landslide election in British Columbia history in , with 77 of 79 seats. The legislature became more evenly divided, however, between the Liberals and NDP following the 46 Liberal seats of 79 and 49 Liberal seats of 85 provincial elections. The NDP and its predecessor the CCF have been the main opposition force to right-wing parties since the s and have ruled with majority governments in — and — The Green Party plays a larger role in the politics of British Columbia than Green parties do in most other jurisdictions in Canada.
After a breakthrough election in Instead, the BC Liberal party is a rather diverse coalition, made up of the remnants of the Social Credit Party, many federal Liberals , federal Conservatives, and those who would otherwise support right-of-centre or free enterprise parties.
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