Grace McCarthy rides the new SkyTrain Canada line in 2011, accompanied by former transportation minister Blair Lekstrom (red shirt) and former cabinet minister Bud Smith (grey suit). (Flickr)

B.C. political legend Grace McCarthy dies

Remembered for rebuilding Social Credit, launching SkyTrain

Former MLA and deputy premier Grace McCarthy will be remembered many ways, from her service in W.A.C. Bennett’s cabinet to the launch of SkyTrain and Expo 86 in the subsequent Social Credit government of Bill Bennett.

McCarthy died May 24 at her Vancouver home, age 90, her family confirmed in a statement. She was being treated for a brain tumour.

McCarthy was credited with rebuilding the Social Credit Party after the elder Bennett was defeated by the NDP in 1972. As party president, she toured the province to rebuild membership and set the stage for Bill Bennett’s 10-year term, where McCarthy served as deputy premier and a senior cabinet minister.

McCarthy is best remembered as tourism minister, bringing Expo 86 to Vancouver and as minister for transit where she chose the name SkyTrain for the city’s new automated transit system.

When Bill Bennett retired, McCarthy was seen as a leading contender to succeed him. But at the 1986 convention in Whistler, Social Credit delegates chose Bill Vander Zalm, who resigned in disgrace in 1991.

McCarthy lost a byelection in 1994 that signalled not only the end of the Social Credit Party but the beginning of the B.C. Liberal rise to power. She was defeated by Mike de Jong in the former constituency of Matsqui, starting his long political career that now includes finance minister and B.C. Liberal house leader.

McCarthy received the Order of Canada in 1992 and the Order of B.C. in 2004. She was first elected as MLA for Vancouver-Little Mountain in 1966.

Born in Vancouver, McCarthy launched her first business at age 17, cashing in a $50 war bond and opening a flower shop called Grayce Florists that grew into five stores.

Just Posted

Curling Club Sponsor League keen on the ice

Weekly games began at the Quesnel Curling Club on Oct. 11

Biologist will be monitoring wildfire impacts on aqua culture and runoff

A change in runoff patterns in wildfire impacted areas could result in lakes not getting oxygenated properly

Snowy track made running very slick and slippery

Quesnel cross-country athletes dominated race and owned the podium

Silver Screen Scoundrels Quesnel performance an opportunity for a new experience

Homemade silent movie in background adds a unique atmosphere to performance

Quesnel and area forests could be wildfire resistant by using old practices

Cariboo Regional District chair Al Richmond spoke to fuel mitigation changes at UBCM

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Have you heard about Black Press scholarships?

Up to 37 scholarships are awarded each year to students throughout British Columbia

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Most Read