Saturday, November 01, 2008

Politics in the Family: Carnival of Genealogy - 59th Edition

Although I don't know that much about my ancestors' political views, I suspect they were often far more conservative than my own. My grandmother, born in 1884 in Manitoba, did tell me that she didn't remember much interest in women's suffrage, for instance, in her town, even though Manitoba was the first Canadian province to give women the vote. On the other hand, I heard from her that many of my Manitoba relatives (mostly Presbyterians) were interested in controlling or eliminating the availability of liquor, an interest which was at many times, almost synonymous with the campaign for women's suffrage.

Both my own parents were very interested in British Columbian and Canadian politics. My father was elected to the School Board in Vancouver, B.C. in the 1950's and he continued to work in civic and provincial politics for many years. I went to School Board meetings as a little girl apparently (sadly I don't remember) but political 'discussions' were frequent at our dinner table (especially when I was in my teens and then at university!) and I can remember attending and even helping at many teas and meetings.

Many have found British Columbia politics to be entertaining, puzzling, intriguing, and often annoying, but most will agree we've at least had colourful politicians right from the start in 1858 - 150 years ago.

My parents, originally 'young Liberals', became supporters of the British Columbia Social Credit League in British Columbia, I believe, in 1951 or '52. In 1952, William Andrew Cecil Bennett, formerly a Progressive Conservative, a Coalitionist (Liberal-Conservative) and an Independent, became the leader of the Social Credit League and the Premier of our province, a position he held continuously till 1972.

Many former Liberals and Conservatives joined the party in the early 1950's. Whatever else one may say about him, W.A.C. Bennett (known often by both supporters and detractors as 'Wacky' Bennett) forged a very British Columbian political party in both style and content.

Some time ago I found a Social Credit Women's Auxiliary Cookbook [c. 1954] and indexed the names of recipe contributors from Mrs. William Aberhart and Mrs. Robert Accand to Mrs. M. B. Wright and Mrs. Alex Yuchym. Mrs. Aberhart (Jessie Flatt) was the wife of the founder of Social Credit in Alberta, Canada, but many of the names are of 'ordinary people' from British Columbia. You may notice that Buda Brown, who I've mentioned before, doesn't have a recipe in the cookbook. I believe she and her husband, who had been a Coalitionist and was defeated in 1952, may not have joined the party till 1954 or 1955. Otherwise, I'm sure she'd have contributed one - perhaps a bread recipe since her husband was an owner of Wild Rose Mills in Vancouver and she apparently was known for her bread baking.

Have a look at my index, posted on Rootsweb, to see if any of your British Columbia family members are listed.

Surnames A - L:

Surnames M - Y:

Buda Brown: Women and the Vote in British Columbia, 1956:

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