Bill Vander Zalm

Wilhelmus Nicholaas Theodore Marie " Bill" Vander Zalm (* May 29, 1934 in Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands ) is a Canadian politician and businessman. From 6 August 1986 to 2 April 1991 he was Prime Minister of the Province of British Columbia and Chair of the British Columbia Social Credit Party. Previously, he had been from 1969 to 1975 Mayor of the City of Surrey. Vander Zalms political career was marked by eccentricity, populism, controversies and scandals. This led from 1991, after his forced resignation, the rapid decline of the Socreds who had four decades dominated the provincial policy.

Municipal and provincial policy

Vander Zalms family came from Holland and emigrated in 1947 to Canada. After leaving school he initially sold tulips, built in 1956, a nursery company, and speculated in real estate. In 1965 he was elected to the City Council of Surrey and was from 1969 to 1975 mayor of this city. During his tenure, he cracked down on social welfare fraudsters by ( social assistance was then the responsibility of the municipalities). For a great stir caused his statement, healthy welfare recipients should get pushed a shovel in hand and are forced to work.

Originally Vander Zalm was a supporter of the Liberals. In 1968, he ran unsuccessfully as a candidate of the Liberal Party of Canada for a seat in the Canadian House of Commons. In 1972 he ran for the party presidency of the British Columbia Liberal Party, but was defeated David Anderson. In 1974, he joined the British Columbia Social Credit Party.

Vander Zalm in 1975 was elected to the electoral district of Surrey in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, as the Socreds after three years could put the government back in opposition. Under Prime Minister Bill Bennett, he headed the Ministries of State Personnel ( 1975-78 ), local government ( 1978-81 ) and education ( 1981-83 ). Bennett dismissed him in 1983 because of disagreements from the government, after which he gave up his mandate. In 1984 he bought the amusement park Fantasy Garden World Richmond and designed it around in the style of a Dutch village. He had no success in the same year. During the mayoral elections in Vancouver

Prime minister

1986 Bill Bennett announced his imminent resignation. Vander Zalm was a candidate for the party presidency and created a media frenzy around his person. At the National Convention on August 6, 1986 in Whistler, he sat down by the fourth ballot and entered the successor Bennetts as prime minister. In October 1986, his party won the elections again: The Socreds had no real choice program, but relied mainly on their charismatic chairman. Vander Zalm himself was elected in the suburb of Richmond.

His cabinet Vander Zalm mainly of backbenchers together that were not noticed during Bennett's reign. The Socreds were an uncertain alliance of supporters of the Liberal Party of Canada, rural social conservatives and urban business representatives. Under Vander Zalms lead the industry representatives increasingly lost influence to the social conservatives. He went with abortion advocates and unions on a collision course. Particularly controversial was the appointment of his close friend David Poole " Principal Secretary ". Poole received more and more skills and had risen before his resignation in 1989 to become the second most powerful man in the province, without ever having been elected.

Vander Zalms right-wing populist course and its controversial personnel policies drove many moderate Socreds to the Liberal Party. In September 1990, he sold his amusement to a Taiwanese investor and came here in a conflict of interest. The subsequent buyers had received preferential treatment before signing a contract, including a lunch with the Vice- Governor. Vander Zalm claimed that he had years earlier ceded control of the amusement to his wife. But signed documents he proved that he was still the majority shareholder and thus his office had misused as Prime Minister to the investor to gain access to influential ministers.

On April 2, 1991 Vander Zalm had to give in and withdraw the pressure of the public. He was succeeded by Rita Johnston, who suffered a severe defeat in the subsequent elections and the collapse of the Social Credit Party could not stop. Vander Zalm was charged with breach of trust with possible criminal intent, in 1992 but acquitted by the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

Vander Zalm in 1999 attempted a political comeback and entered in the electoral district of Delta South in a by-election. He was a candidate for the right-wing British Columbia Reform Party, which emerged from the Social Credit Party had become meaningless now. He received 32.9 % of the vote and defeated the candidate of the liberals.