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)

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abby House has been operating at 2676 Gladys Ave. in Abbotsford since 1991. The building was heavily damaged by a fire in October. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford mental-health organization weighs options after fire destroys building

Abby House considers whether to restore old home or build a new one

/ Kevin Mills Photo
Thousands participate in solidarity parade for transgender student who was bullied

Cars, horses and even planes passed by the Mission waterfront to show support

An amethyst rock was stolen from Swinstones Granite Shop’s showroom in Chilliwack on Yale Rd. West, and they are hoping it will be spotted and returned. They discovered their window smashed and the purple rock stolen on the morning of Jan. 17, 2020. Here a portion of it is pictured to the right. (Submitted image)
Amethyst stolen from Chilliwack stone shop’s showroom

Window smashed at business where purple rock has been on display for nearly 16 years

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

BCCDC photo.
16 school exposures in Abbotsford schools in 2 weeks

Fraser Health’s list grows by 11 for 2nd week of 2021

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

RCMP were called to the 5600 block of 201A Street just after midnight on Monday were they found a 27-year-old man in an underground parking garage who had sustained multiple shot wounds. (Lisa Farquharson/Langley Advance Times)
27-year-old taken to hospital after overnight targeted shooting in Langley

RCMP have not confirmed the incident is link to the Lower Mainland gang conflict

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Most Read