Ray Williston interview : [Reimer, 1975 : part 1]
- 1975 [date recorded]
Part of Provincial Archives of British Columbia audio interviews, 1974-1992
CALL NUMBER: T1375:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Childhood and Youth, 1914-1933 PERIOD COVERED: 1914-1933 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-01-02 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Born in Victoria, 1914. United Empire Loyalist stock in New Brunswick, 1786. Family moves to B.C. in 1912 (?). Father in feed business. Moved to Ladner. Father in debt. Moved to Salmon Arm. Father killed in 1927, putting the family into even greater debt. TRACK 2: Works for "The SAFE" in Salmon Arm. Mother ran a boarding house. Played in dance band through the Depression. Ambition to become a pilot. Normal School in Victoria. Member of Older Boys' Parliament. Worked as warehouseman and clerk. Depression years in Salmon Arm. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0002 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Student and teacher, 1934-1939 PERIOD COVERED: 1934-1939 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-01-02 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Williston discusses his first teaching job in Hendon, B.C. in 1934. He then took a B.A. at UBC summer school, starting in 1935. Taught in Surrey, B.C. Talks about Surrey social life at the time, and his marriage in 1939. Moves to Princeton, B.C. Graduates from UBC in 1940. Discusses the social life in Princeton in the late 1930s. TRACK 2: Discusses teaching at the Princeton High School. UBC summer session discussed. Walks over Hope-Princeton trail in 1939. Gordon Shrum and Professor Sedgewick at UBC. Williston has attack of "nervous exhaustion". He develops an "abhorrence" of socialism during the 1930s. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0003 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Airman and School Administrator, 1940-1952 PERIOD COVERED: 1940-1952 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-01-02 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Rejects BCTF militancy in the 1930s. Rejection of socialism. RCAF (1940-1945) in Alberta. Returns to teaching in 1945. Supervising principal in Prince George. Joins the Department of Education as school inspector. TRACK 2: Reprimand by W.T. Straith, Minister of Education. Declines to run as a Socred in 1952. Runs in 1953 and elected (Fort George constituency). Unschooled in Socred monetary theory. Thought W.A.C. Bennett too conservative in financial matters. Socialism versus "adapted free enterprise". Voted for various parties in 1930s and 1940s. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0004 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Social Credit politician, 1952-1954 PERIOD COVERED: 1952-1954 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-01-02 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Attracted to the Social Credit Party in 1952 by the people in it. Nominating meeting in 1953. Had job as a lecturer at the University of Washington, 1954. Became Minister of Education, April 1954. Aquatic events in the Gorge, Victoria. [TRACK 2: blank.]; CALL NUMBER: T1375:0005 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): MLA and Minister of Education, 1953-1956 PERIOD COVERED: 1953-1956 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-06 SUMMARY: Williston reprimanded by William T. Straith, Minister of Education, for making public statements about education. Asked to resign as school inspector when he was nominated in 1953. 1953 election. W.A.C. Bennett speaks on behalf of Williston, 1953. Williston's first speech in Legislative Assembly. Williston gets favourable reaction from all sides. Responsibilities of "the press". Williston becomes Minister of Education, April 1954. Appointment kept secret until last minute. Initial problems and issues in education -- financing, teacher training, curriculum. Role of deputy ministers. Some senior public servants try to embarrass the new government, especially with regard to finances. School finances. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0006 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Minister of Education, 1954-1956 PERIOD COVERED: 1954-1956 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-06 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Problems of school construction and finance, 1954-56. Establishment of teacher training in universities. British Columbia College of Education. Reinstatement of World Review in the schools. Education problems with Doukhobors. Doukhobor school at New Denver, B.C. The socializing role of the school system. TRACK 2: More on B.C. College of Education. Personalities in B.C. education. Salaries of education officials. School openings. CALL NUMBER: T1375:0007 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): The "Sommers" Case PERIOD COVERED: 1955-1957 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1975-10-06 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: "Sommers scandal" in which Robert Sommers is accused and convicted of accepting bribes in relation to the granting of forest land tenures. Williston's personal assessment of Sommers. Williston appointed Minister of Lands and Forests, 1956. Reaction within government to the scandal. Mel Bryan crosses the floor to protest Attorney-General Bonner's handling of the affair. TRACK 2: More on Mel Bryan and "Sommers scandal". Assessment of Ron Worley. Sloan Commission on Forestry, 1957.