Boss Johnson

Byron Ingemar Johnson ( born December 10, 1890 in Victoria, British Columbia; ibid † January 12, 1964; actually Bjorn Ingemar Johnson) was a Canadian politician and businessman. December 29, 1947 to August 1, 1952, he was Prime Minister of the Province of British Columbia and Chair of the British Columbia Liberal Party. Of his contemporaries, he was often referred to as "Boss". This nickname dates back to the Icelandic " Bjosse ", a diminutive of Johnson's birth name Bjorn, which he later anglicized to Byron.


After military service in Europe during the First World War, Johnson and his brothers opened a company in Victoria for building materials, which proved to be successful. In 1929 he joined the Freemasons. On November 2, 1933, he was elected as one of four members of the City of Victoria in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, but lost his seat in the elections on 1 June 1937.

Johnson went back to his company. During the Second World War, he was responsible for the construction of facilities of the Royal Canadian Air Force in the province. During the elections on October 25, 1945, he succeeded in re-election, this time in New Westminster constituency, and he belonged to the run of John Hart liberal- conservative coalition government. After Hart's resignation on December 29, 1947 Johnson took over the posts of party leader and prime minister.

Johnson's government introduced a compulsory health insurance, and raised for the financing of a VAT rate of 3%. They built the main road network, extended the Pacific Great Eastern Railway and enabled the construction of the Kenny Dam, the first hydroelectric power plant in the province. After the devastating floods of the Fraser River in 1948, Johnson initiated a program for the construction of levees. In 1950 he appointed with Nancy Hodges the first female Speaker in the entire Commonwealth.

The liberal-conservative party alliance reached a share of the vote of over 61% in the elections on 15 June 1949. The British Columbia Conservative Party left the alliance in 1951 to break apart and Johnson's government had no majority. In the following elections on June 12, 1952, both the Liberals and the Conservatives were defeated by the British Columbia Social Credit Party. Johnson lost his own seat, handed over on 1 August 1952, the Office of WAC Bennett and retired into private life.