In 1871, British Columbia agreed to enter the Canadian Confederation on one condition: a railway linking it to central Canada had to be built within ten years. And with that, the British colony became a province of the new Canadian Confederation. Political life in BC proceeded in much the same way as it did in the other provinces. The Premier, who was also head of the party in power, led the government which was mostly made up of elected members of the legislative assembly.

British Columbia was also represented in Ottawa, at the federal government, by 34 members of parliament who sat in the House of Commons. These members had been elected by citizens who had the right to vote, and they had to defend the province’s interests with the central government.

One interesting aspect of British Columbia politics in 1905 was the fact that many people did not have voting rights, including Native people, Asians and women. Only British subjects who were white male property owners over the age of 21 could vote. These conditions made many people unhappy. Premier Richard McBride was well aware of this fact. He knew that since unskilled workers made up the majority of the province’s population, he had to listen to them; otherwise the consequences could be disastrous. And yet, it was only in 1953 that everyone obtained the right to vote.

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social

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