House of Commons

From Dominion of British Columbia

Okook pej kopa Chinook Wawa: Konaway Tillikums yaka House

The House of Commons is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of British Columbia, which is the legislative branch of the government of British Columbia.

The House of Commons at present has 91 seats, expanded from 85 in advance of the 2018 election with the addition of six new ridings in the North; its members, known as Members of Parliament, are directly elected by eligible voters in the BC populace, which each member representing a single electoral district for a period mandated by law of not more than five years.

The House of Commons is the dominant branch of parliament. Bills passed by it are sent to the Council of Chiefs for review; after a bill has been passed by both the House of Commons and the Council of Chiefs, it is sent to the Governor General, who gives the bill Royal Assent, at which point the bill becomes law.

Prior to 1903, members of parliament were not elected according to party lines; all candidates were technically independent, but blocs and associations were formed during campaigning and during the sessions of parliament.

Current Parliament

40th Parliament (2018 to date)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 32 Annie May Bennett PC (PM)
Green 9 Élodie Desjardins (Deputy PM)
Labour 33 Dame Victoria Elizabeth Spintlum DBC OD PC (OO)
Liberal 8 Brandon Joshua Olsen
Conservative 8 Darcy James Archer
Independent 1 Alexander Dunsmuir, 5th Baron Esquimalt GCBC GCD

The 2018 election was a major surprise to many in the Dominion. It was called only because BC law specifies that elections must be held no more than five years apart, and since the Spintlum Ministry's approval ratings were generally favourable, and polls held six months prior to the (automatic) dropping of the writ suggested that Spintlum's Labour would win another majority.

When the Social Credit Party collapsed in the 1996 election, it still had several million pound in its coffers - which could be used only for election campaigns and official party purposes, and so sat unused over the years that the party sat moribund. Darryl Perttunen managed to revive the fortunes of the party in 2013 enough to get himself elected, but no more, and in Spring 2017 the party membership elected Annie May Bennett - daughter of Bill Bennett and granddaughter of W.A.C. Bennett - party leader. Young (36), attractive, charismatic, and articulate, she managed to resuscitate the party in a way Perttunen couldn't, and by the time writ was dropped, polls had the SoCreds ranked third.

Nobody, however, had foreseen how the SoCreds would surge ahead in the campaigning, and how much support they'd draw away from both the more conservative wing of Labour and the more progressive wing of the Liberals with the positive message of Bennett's campaign (Social Credit were the only party that didn't run any attack ads). No party managed to reach the 46 seats needed for a majority, Labour winning 33 and Social Credit 32.

The third-placed Greens announced three days after the results were confirmed and absentee votes were counted, that they would support the SoCreds in a coalition. Spintlum then opted to concede, and Annie May Bennett became Prime Minister. For the first time ever in the Commonwealth, both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were women; not only that, but the Deputy Prime Minister, Green Party leader Élodie Desjardins, was also a woman.

Another surprise of the 2018 election came in the riding of Nanaimo where Alexander Dunsmuir, 5th Baron Esquimalt, great grandson of BC's 11th Prime Minister, James Dunsmuir, 2nd Baron Esquimalt, unexpectedly announced his candidacy - and even more unexpectedly - won convincingly in a riding that had, with two exceptions, voted Labour in every election since 1963. Dunsmuir is a particularly beloved figure in the greater Nanaimo area, and is holder of BC's only non-Native hereditary title. Dunsmuir became the first candidate to run as an independent to be elected since 1949.

Historical Parliaments

1st Parliament (1875–1878)
Party No. of Seats Leader
None 25 Dr. Sir John Sebastian Helmcken KCMG PC (PM)
2nd Parliament (1878 - 1883)
Party No. of Seats Leader
None 25 Dr. Sir John Sebastian Helmcken KCMG PC (PM) (1878–1882; resigned)
Robert Beaven PC (PM) (1882–1883)
3rd Parliament (1883–1886)
Party No. of Seats Leader
None 25 William Smithe PC (PM)
4th Parliament (1886–1890)
Party No. of Seats Leader
None 27 William Smithe PC (PM) (1886–1887; died in office)
Alexander Edmund Batson Davie PC (PM) (1887–1889; died in office)
John Robson PC (1889–1890)
5th Parliament (1890 - 1894)
Party No. of Seats Leader
None 33 John Robson PC (PM) (1890–1892; died in office)
Theodore Davie PC (1892–1894)
6th Parliament (1894–1898)
Party No. of Seats Leader
None 33 Theodore Davie PC (PM)
7th Parliament (1898–1903)
Party No. of Seats Leader
None 36 Charles Augustus Semlin PC (PM) (1898–1900; removed by non-confidence vote)
Joseph Martin PC (PM) (February–August 1900; removed by non-confidence vote)
James Dunsmuir, 2nd Baron Esquimalt GCMG GCVO PC (PM) (1900–1903)
8th Parliament (1903–1907)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Conservative 22 Sir Richard McBride KCMG (PM)
Liberal 17 James Alexander MacDonald PC (OO)
Socialist 2 James Hurst Hawthornthwaite
Labour 1 William Davidson
9th Parliament (1907–1909)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Conservative 26 Sir Richard McBride KCMG PC (PM)
Liberal 13 James Alexander MacDonald PC (OO)
Socialist 3 Parker Williams
10th Parliament (1909–1912)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Conservative 38 Sir Richard McBride KCMG PC (PM)
Liberal 2 James Alexander MacDonald PC (OO)
Socialist 2 Parker Williams
11th Parliament (1912–1916)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Conservative 40 Sir Richard McBride KCMG PC (PM)
Socialist 1 Parker Williams
Social Democratic 1 John Thomas Wilmot Place
12th Parliament (1916–1920)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Liberal 26 Harlan Carey Brewster PC (PM) (1916–1918; died in office)
Sir John Oliver KCMG PC (PM) (1918–1920)
Conservative 9 William John Bowser (OO)
Socialist 1 Parker Williams
Independent 1 William Henry Hayward
13th Parliament (1920–1924)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Liberal 25 Sir John Oliver KCMG PC (PM)
Conservative 15 William John Bowser (OO)
Federated Labour 3 Thomas Aubert Uphill
Liberty League of BC 1 Kenneth Forrest Duncan
Vancouver Ratepayers' Association 1 George Samuel Hanes
Women's Freedom League 1 Richard John Burde
People's Party 1 Thomas Menzies
14th Parliament (1924–1928)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Liberal 23 Sir John Oliver KCMG PC (PM)
Conservative 17 William John Bowser (OO)
Dominion Party 5 George Alexander Walkem
Labour 3 Thomas Aubert Uphill
15th Parliament (1928–1933)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Conservative 35 Simon Fraser Tolmie PC (PM)
Liberal 12 Sir Thomas Dufferin Pattullo KCMG PC (OO)
Labour 1 Thomas Aubert Uphill
16th Parliament (1933–1937)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Liberal 34 Sir Thomas Dufferin Pattullo KCMG PC (PM)
Labour 7 Robert Connell (OO)
Conservative 2 Herbert Anscomb
Independent 1 Rolf Wallgren Bruhn
Oxford Group Movement 1 Hugh George Egioke Savage
Unionist 1 Robert Henry Pooley
Independent Labour 1 Thomas Aubert Uphill
17th Parliament (1937–1941)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Liberal 31 Sir Thomas Dufferin Pattullo KCMG PC (PM)
Conservative 8 Frank Porter Patterson (OO) (1937–1938; died in office)
Royal Lethington Maitland (OO) (1938–1941)
Labour 6 Harold Edward Winch PC
Independent Labour 1 Thomas Aubert Uphill
Independent 1 Rolf Wallgren Bruhn
Social Constructive 1 Robert Connell
18th Parliament (1941–1945)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Liberal 21 Sir Thomas Dufferin Pattullo KCMG PC (PM)
Labour 14 Harold Edward Winch PC (OO)
Conservative 11 Royal Lethington Maitland
Independent Labour 1 Thomas Aubert Uphill
Independent 1 Rolf Wallgren Bruhn
19th Parliament (1945–1949)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Labour 20 Harold Edward Winch PC (PM)
Conservative 15 Royal Lethington Maitland (OO) (1945–3/1946; died in office)
Herbert Anscomb (OO) (3/1946–1949)
Liberal 13 Björn Ingemar Jónsson PC
Labour Progressive 2 Thomas Aubert Uphill
20th Parliament (1949–1952)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Liberal 23 Björn Ingemar Jónsson PC (PM)
Labour 14 Harold Edward Winch PC (OO)
Conservative 8 Herbert Anscomb
Labour Progressive 1 Thomas Aubert Uphill
Independent 1 James Mowat
21st Parliament (1952–1953)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Labour 18 Harold Edward Winch PC (PM)
Social Credit 15 Ernest George Hansell (OO)
Liberal 9 Björn Ingemar Jónsson PC
Conservative 5 Herbert Anscomb
Labour Progressive 1 Thomas Aubert Uphill
22nd Parliament (1953–1956)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 28 Sir William Andrew Cecil Bennett KCMG KBC OD PC (PM)
Labour 14 Robert Martin Strachan OD PC (OO)
Liberal 4 Arthur Laing OBC OD
Labour Progressive 1 Thomas Aubert Uphill
Conservative 1 Lorenzo Giovando
23rd Parliament (1956–1960)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 39 Sir William Andrew Cecil Bennett KCMG KBC OD PC (PM)
Labour 10 Robert Martin Strachan OD PC (OO)
Liberal 2 Arthur Laing OBC OD
Labour Progressive 1 Thomas Aubert Uphill
24th Parliament (1960–1963)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 32 Sir William Andrew Cecil Bennett KCMG KBC OD PC (PM)
Labour 16 Robert Martin Strachan OD PC (OO)
Liberal 4 Raymond Joseph Perrault
25th Parliament (1963–1966)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 33 Sir William Andrew Cecil Bennett KCMG KBC OD PC (PM)
Labour 14 Robert Martin Strachan OD PC (OO)
Liberal 5 Raymond Joseph Perrault
26th Parliament (1966–1969)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 33 Sir William Andrew Cecil Bennett KCMG KBC OD PC (PM)
Labour 16 Robert Martin Strachan OD PC (OO)
Liberal 6 Raymond Joseph Perrault
27th Parliament (1969–1972)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 38 Sir William Andrew Cecil Bennett KCMG KBC OD PC (PM)
Labour 12 Robert Martin Strachan OD PC (OO)
Liberal 5 Patrick Lucey McGeer
28th Parliament (1972–1975)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Labour 38 David Barrett MBC PC (PM)
Social Credit 10 Sir William Andrew Cecil Bennett KCMG KBC OD PC (OO)
Liberal 5 David A. Anderson MBC
Conservative 2 Derril Thomas Warren
29th Parliament (1975–1979)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 35 William Richards Bennett OD PC (PM)
Labour 18 David Barrett MBC PC (OO)
Liberal 1 Gordon Gibson OBC
Conservative 1 George Scott Wallace
30th Parliament (1979–1983)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 31 William Richards Bennett OD PC (PM)
Labour 26 David Barrett MBC PC (OO)
31st Parliament (1983–1986)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 35 William Richards Bennett OD PC (PM)
Labour 22 David Barrett MBC PC (OO)
32nd Parliament (1986–1991)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 47 Dame Grace Mary McCarthy DBC PC (PM)
Labour 22 Robert Skelly (OO)
33rd Parliament (1991–1993)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 39 Dame Grace Mary McCarthy DBC PC (PM)
Labour 29 Sir Michael Franklin Harcourt KBC PC (OO)
Liberal 7 Gordon Wilson
34th Parliament (1993–1996)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Social Credit 31 Andrew William O'Connor MBC PC (PM)
Labour 20 Sir Michael Franklin Harcourt KBC PC (OO)
Liberal 16 Sir Wilson F. T. Leung KBC PC
Conservative 8 Wolfgang Schauerhammer
35th Parliament (1996–2001)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Labour 38 Sir Michael Franklin Harcourt KBC PC (PM)
Liberal 32 Sir Wilson F. T. Leung KBC PC (OO)
Conservative 3 Wolfgang Schauerhammer
Social Credit 1 Andrew William O'Connor MBC PC
Progressive Democratic Alliance 1 Gordon Wilson
36th Parliament (2001–2005)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Liberal 36 Sir Wilson F. T. Leung KBC PC (PM)
Labour 23 David Thomas Cattanach (OO)
Conservative 19 Wolfgang Schauerhammer
Progressive Democratic Alliance 1 Gordon Wilson
37th Parliament (2005–2009)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Liberal 29 Sir Wilson F. T. Leung KBC PC (PM)
Labour 26 David Thomas Cattanach (OO)
Conservative 20 Wolfgang Schauerhammer
Green 5 Blake Matsumura
38th Parliament (2009–2013)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Liberal-Conservative Coalition 42 Sir Wilson F. T. Leung KBC PC (PM)
Labour 33 David Thomas Cattanach (OO) (2009–2011; resigned)
Dame Victoria Elizabeth Spintlum DBC OD PC (OO) (2011 - 2013)
Green 5 Blake Matsumura
39th Parliament (2013–2018)
Party No. of Seats Leader
Labour 37 Dame Victoria Elizabeth Spintlum DBC OD PC (PM)
Liberal 23 Brandon Joshua Olsen (OO)
Conservative 17 Darcy James Archer
Green 7 Élodie Desjardins
Social Credit 1 Darryl Jarkko Perttunen