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

Parksville’s Corfield Street to be partially closed March 28

Northbound lane to close for sewer main installation from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pair arrested after ramming stolen vehicle into police car in Qualicum Beach

Suspects remain in custody on multiple charges pending court appearance

Flood risk assessment funding granted to RDN and QB

Federal government pitches in $70,000 while province to fund $80,000

Qualicum Beach rejects elimination of strata age restrictions

Councillors raised issue of town’s lack of housing strategy

Response mixed to Parksville homeless housing project

BC Housing staff answer questions during open house

Response mixed to Parksville homeless housing project

BC Housing staff answer questions during open house

SurvivorPQB supports local charity

Readers vote for the favourites and are eligible to win $250 in groceries

Canucks find scoring touch in 5-2 win over Blackhawks

Four Vancouver skaters have two points apiece in victory over Chicago

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

BREAKING: Cassie Sharpe adds world championship to Olympic gold

Mount Washington skier defends her crown in France, wins overall halfpipe title

Most Read