Series GR-1222 - Premiers' papers

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Premiers' papers

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  • textual record
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  • textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series.

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  • 1917-1952 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Premier

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37 m of textual records

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Biographical history

The Premier is the first minister of the government. In this role, the Premier makes recommendations to the Lieutenant-Governor for the selection and dismissal of ministers of government, and for the dissolution of the legislature. The Premier also signs orders-in-council, and presides over meetings of the Executive Council. The Lieutenant-Governor usually selects the Premier from the leader of the party holding the largest number of seats, or the party most able to form a government. In British Columbia, the office was established in 1871; when the province joined Confederation. However, it was not until 1921, when the office was first named in the Constitution Act (SBC 1921, c. 12). Since 1933, the Premier has also served as the President of the Executive Council. This was formalized in the Constitution Act in 1973 (SBC 1973 c. 20).

Custodial history

Scope and content

This series contains official reports and correspondence accumulated during the administrations of Premiers Tolmie, Pattullo, Hart, and Johnson. It includes Departmental, General, and Federal files, plus separate series of documents on Pacific Great Eastern Railway (1917-1945). It also includes applications for employment, petitions, press releases, speeches, and vouchers.

The records which comprise this unit were stored for many years in a maintenance shop adjacent to the Parliament Buildings. Storage conditions were less than ideal and in 1982 arrangements were made with the Premier's Office' to transfer the records to the Provincial Archives. It was a signal event, for the records provide documentation on virtually all facets of provincial life over a thirty-five year period. Additionally, the documents which make up GR-1222 provide a valuable record of the administrations of Premiers Tolmie (1928-1933), Pattullo (1933-1941), Hart (1941-1947) and Johnson (1947-1952). The records fall into three main categories or series, namely Departmental files, Federal files, and General files.

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Transferred from the Premier's office, 1982.


For the most part, the files which comprise this unit are fairly complete. Originally, however, the Premiers' papers also included a substantial number of CONFIDENTIAL FILES. Few of these files were among the records transferred to the Provincial Archives in 1982. It is apparent, moreover, that a number of the Premiers' files were separated at various times from the main body of papers. For instance, Premier Tolmie's official correspondence (which survives in GR-0441, vols. 292-334 and in the Tolmie Papers at UBC Special Collections) was originally a part of this unit; similarly, many of the Pattullo Papers (notably vols. 62-73 of MS-0003) at one time belonged with these files.

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Restrictions on access

These records are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other acts and access may be restricted. Please contact the BC Archives to determine the access status of these records.

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General note

see GR-1414

General note

Included with the Premiers' papers were sundry pamphlets, brochures, magazine articles, and printed government reports. These publications, along with the maps that were included with some of the files, are available through the Access Unit (library holdings). Photographs are also available through the Access Unit (visual image holdings).

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Accession number(s): G82-056; GR-1222

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