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British Columbia general election, 1871

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Title: British Columbia general election, 1871  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Elections in British Columbia, New Westminster City, Comox (electoral district), Esquimalt (electoral district), Cowichan (electoral district)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

British Columbia general election, 1871

Formerly a British colony, British Columbia became a province of Canada on July 20, 1871. An interim Cabinet was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and election writs for the first general election as a province of Canada were issued to choose 25 members of the first provincial legislature from 12 ridings (electoral districts). These ridings were:


  • Polling conditions 1
  • Statistics 2
  • Results by riding 3
  • Byelections 4
  • Composition of House at dissolution 5
  • Further reading & references 6

Polling conditions

The election was held from October through December 1871, and was conducted by means of a show of hands on nomination day and, if required, an open poll book on polling day. There were no organized political parties.


  • Votes 3,804
  • Candidates 46
  • Members 25

Vancouver Island

  • Upper Island 310 votes, four seats (77.5 votes/seat)
    • Comox: 24 votes (24 votes/seat)
    • Cowichan: 196 votes (2 seats 98 votes/seat 49 voters/seat)
    • Nanaimo: 90 votes (90 votes/seat)
  • "Greater Victoria" 2,074 votes, eight seats (259.25 votes/seat):
    • Victoria: 377 votes (2 seats 188.5 votes/seat 94.25 voters/seat)
    • Victoria City: 1,515 (4 seats 378.75 votes/seat 169.3525 voters/seat)
    • Esquimalt: 182 (2 seats 91 votes/seat 45.5 voters/seat)


  • Interior 1,907 votes, ten seats (190.7 votes/seat):
    • Cariboo: 785 votes (3 seats 261.67 votes/seat)
    • Kootenay: 39 votes (2 seats 19.5 votes/seat)
    • Lillooet: 102 votes (2 seats 51 votes/seat
    • Yale: 171 votes (3 seats 57 votes/seat)
  • Lower Mainland 686 votes (3 seats 228.67 votes/seat:
    • New Westminster: 323 votes (2 seats 161.5 votes/seat)
    • New Westminster City: unknown at this time (vote was by acclamation)_

Note that these figures refer to votes actually cast, not the population per se nor the total of the potential voters' list.

Results by riding

Note: There is no arrangement to the ridings and members, other than by rough alphabetical order, as all were technically independents. Actual seating of the House or political alignments are not represented.

|- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Cornelius Booth |align="center" rowspan=3 |Cariboo
|bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" |
|align="center"|John Ash |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Joseph Hunter |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" rowspan=2|Cowichan
|align="center"|William Smithe |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Henry Cogan |align="center" rowspan=2 |Esquimalt |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" rowspan=2 |Kootenay |align="center"|John Andrew Mara |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Alexander Rocke Robertson |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Charles Todd |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Thomas Basil Humphreys |align="center" rowspan=2 |Lillooet |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" |Nanaimo |align="center"|John Robson |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Andrew Thomas Jamieson |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" rowspan=2 |New Westminster |align="center"|William James Armstrong |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Henry Holbrook |align="center" |New Westminster City |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" |Josiah Charles Hughes |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Arthur Bunster |align="center" rowspan=2 |Victoria |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" rowspan=4 |Victoria City |align="center"|Robert Beaven |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Amor De Cosmos |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Simeon Duck |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|James Robinson |align="center" rowspan=3 |Yale |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|John Foster McCreight2 |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Charles Augustus Semlin |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|James Trimble |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Robert Smith |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |- | |align-left"|1 Premier-Elect | | | | |align-left"|2 Incumbent Premier |- | align="center" colspan="10"|Source: Elections BC |- |}


Two sets of byelections were held to confirm appointments to the Executive Council (cabinet), as was the custom in earlier times. Ministerial candidates in this series of byelections were all confirmed by acclamation (so there were no actual polling dates). These byelections were:

Other byelections were also held due to deaths and other appointments; all were contested:

Composition of House at dissolution

Note: Government/Opposition status applies to candidate at time of election in 1871, not at time of dissolution in 1875.

|- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Cariboo
|bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" |
|align="center"|John Ash |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Joseph Hunter |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" rowspan=2|Cowichan
|align="center"|William Smithe |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Henry Cogan |align="center" rowspan=2 |Esquimalt |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" rowspan=2 |Kootenay |align="center"|John Andrew Mara |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Alexander Rocke Robertson |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Charles Todd |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Thomas Basil Humphreys |align="center" rowspan=2 |Lillooet |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" |Nanaimo |align="center"|John Robson |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|William M. Brown |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" rowspan=2 |New Westminster |align="center"|William James Armstrong |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Henry Holbrook |align="center" |New Westminster City |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" |Josiah Charles Hughes |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|William Archibald Robertson |align="center" rowspan=2 |Victoria |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center" rowspan=4 |Victoria City |align="center"|Robert Beaven |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|William Fraser Tolmie |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Simeon Duck |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|James Robinson |align="center" rowspan=3 |Yale |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|John Foster McCreight |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Charles Augustus Semlin |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|James Trimble |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |align="center"|Robert Smith |bgcolor="gainsboro"|     |- |- | |align-left"| | | | | |align-left"| |- | align="center" colspan="10"|Source: Elections BC |- |}

Further reading & references

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