Friday, November 20, 2009

David Vickers, R.I.P. : The Best NDP Leader We Never Had?

Did you ever wish that we could have a premier who could combine the practical intelligence and self-confidence of Glen Clark with the moderation, procedural values and common sense of Mike Harcourt? With an extra dollop of character, vision, and good judgment to boot? It nearly happened in 1969, when Tom Berger led the NDP into an election that was called early by W.A.C. Bennett precisely to prevent the electorate from getting to know the new leader. It could have happened again in 1984 when David Vickers was passed over for the likeable but soon-to-be overwhelmed stalwart Bob Skelly. "Seniority without substance is a dangerous thing," would have been an unkind cut, but the truth is, the NDP was just as prone to make the wrong choice as its Social Credit opponents were. And that is exactly what both parties did.

David Vickers had paid his dues--as an outstanding lawyer, as a briliant young Deputy Attorney-General in the Barrett government, as a tireless advocate for the homeless, as a prominent Solidarity spokesman, and later as a distinguished judge on the B.C. Court of Appeal. That he never became premier is a shame.

British Columbia still awaits its first, badly-needed Allan Blakeney.


Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks for this Mark - I never met Vickers but while it's unfortunate he wasn't able to succeed in politics, he made a significant contribution to BC.

wschuitema said...

Hi mark my name is bill and i worked for david as he was my hero contact he and tony palmer were as good friends.

Mark Crawford said...

Hi Bill--It is nice to hear form you, even though I wrote that observance 2 1/2 years ago.

Actually, it is kind of appropriate now as we reflect on what went wrong with NDP leadership during the past provincial election.