Richard McBride

Richard McBride

Sir Richard McBride, KCMG (December 15, 1870 – August 6, 1917) was a British Columbian politician and is often considered the founder of the British Columbia Conservative Party. McBride was first elected to the provincial legislature in the 1898 election, and served in the cabinet of James Dunsmuir from 1900 to 1901. McBride believed that the province's system of non-party government was unstable and hindered development. After the lieutenant-governor appointed him Premier in June 1903 and McBride announced that his government was a Conservative Party administration and would contest the upcoming election along party lines. On October 3, 1903 McBride's party, the British Columbia Conservative Party won the first provincial election to be fought along party lines with a two seat majority.

The new Conservative government attempted to stabilize the economy by cutting spending and raising new taxes. It also introduced progressive reforms of the province's labour law. In 1909 McBride unveiled plans for a provincial university and promised to build more railway lines. The party won commanding majorities in the 1909 and 1912 elections, almost shutting the Opposition out of the legislature.

McBride's Conservatives were aligned with the federal Conservatives of Robert Borden, and helped them take power in the 1911 federal election. During the First World War, the provincial government purchased two primitive submarines to defend the province from the unlikely threat of German attack.

His government was also responsible for the creation of the province's first university, the University of British Columbia, which opened its doors in 1915.

The government's popularity waned as an economic downturn hit the province along with the mounting railway debts. McBride resigned on December 15, 1915 to become the province's representative in London, where he died in 1917.

Richard McBride is interred in the Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, British Columbia.

Electoral history

"Popular Vote is not given for 1898 and 1900 because there was no party system a percentage could be based upon, and also because McBride was not Premier until 1903."
*1898 election
** Elected Member for Westminster-Dewdney, 52.23%
*1900 election
** Elected Member for Westminster-Dewdney, 54.25%
*1903 election
** Provincial Popular Vote, 46.43% (22 of 42 seats)
** Elected Member for Dewdney, 66.10%
*1907 election
** Provincial Popular Vote, 48.70% (26 of 42 seats)
** Elected Member for Dewdney, 61.44%
**Victoria City, 12.86% - 1st out of 4 seats*
*1909 election
** Provincial Popular Vote, 52.33% (38 of 42 seats)
** Elected Member for Victoria City, 14.78% - 1st out of 4 seats
** Elected Member for Yale, 63.19%
*1912 election
** Provincial Popular Vote, 59.65% (39 of 42 seats)
** Elected Member for Victoria City, 20.10% - 1st out of 4 seats

::"*Note: In four-member seats 25% is theoretically equivalent to 100% (if all voters cast all four possible votes - some did not)."


When the Komagata Maru arrived in Canadian waters, it was not allowed to dock. The then Conservative Premier of British Columbia, Richard McBride, gave a categorical statement that the passengers would not be allowed to disembark.On May 12th 2008, the Conservative Federal Government concurred and publicly apologized to the Indo-Canadian community for the Komagata Maru Incident.


The small community of McBride, British Columbia was named after this premier during the time he was in office. Also named for the premier, the McBride River in northern British Columbia is a major tributary of the Stikine.

External links

* [ Biography at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]
* [ "British Columbia: From the Earliest Times to the Present, Vol IV (Biographical)" by E.O.S. Scholefield and F.W. Howay (see pp. 5-6)] .

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