State memorial service for former B.C. premier Dave Barrett to be held Saturday


WATCH:A state memorial service for former B.C. premier Dave Barrett will be held at the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium on Saturday, March 3. The doors open at 9 a.m., and the event begins at 10 a.m.  It is open to the public. Barrett died February second at age 87 after a long struggle with Alzheimer?s.  A number of current and former politicians and dignitaries including Premier Horgan, Lt-Gov. Judith Guichon, finance minister Carole James, and former NDP ministers including Joy McPhail, and Bob Williams will pay their respects. Mary Griffin reports.

Premier John Horgan’s chief of staff Geoff Meggs wrote the book filled with anecdotes from the former NDP premier’s three years in power.

Meggs said Dave Barrett ran to change politics in British Columbia.

“It wasn’t about him. He was really there for the little person, for working families. Making those sacrifices, not for personal gain, but for everybody else. I think people figured out,” Meggs said.

He said that Barrett’s legacy is far-reaching: from increasing wages for workers to creation of the Agricultural Land Reserve, ICBC, and changes to the BC Legislature.  Premier Horgan acknowledged his predecessor’s contributions in a speech to the legislature at the start of Thursday’s question period.

“I think it’s appropriate as we do this before question period, that we remind ourselves that there was no question period until Dave Barrett introduced it,” Horgan said.

A book of condolences set up at the legislature drewBruce Macallum. He took a photo of the former premier who inspired him back in 1972 when he was a university student. Macallum eventually became head of the Kamloops School Board.  “I was always sort of interested in politics, but certainly I would have looked to him as an inspiration to become involved with local government politics,” Macallum said.

In 1972, Dan Miller worked as an executive assistant to a cabinet minister in Barrett’s government.  He went on to become premier in 1999.

“He influenced a generation of people. Myself included. Glen Clark, John Horgan, we’re all influenced by Dave Barrett,” Miller said. “And I think in some ways, that really is his lasting legacy. The influence he had on so many people.”

Meggs said Barrett still leaves a mark on the province and the people he served.

“His legacy is huge. I think if you read the tributes to him, you’ll see that even if people really disliked his politics, they liked him as a person.”

The memorial service is expected to draw up to a thousand people.

On Sunday, Premier Horgan, and former premiers Dan Miller and Glen Clark will speak at a celebration of life for Barrett at Vancouver’s Croatian Cultural Centre, that runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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