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Sir Richard McBride (1870-1917)

Sir Richard McBride, (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 the 16th 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.  On the first day of the First World War, the provincial government purchased and took possession of two submarines (HMCS CC-1 and HMCS CC-2) to defend the province from the threat of German attack.  As provinces are not constitutionally allowed to maintain militaries, they were quickly transferred by order to the federal government within 48 hours and entered service with the Royal Canadian Navy in August 1914.
 
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.