The Dewdney electoral district was the original riding representing the people of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and its representatives have long held storied places in B.C. politics.
In 2001 the electoral districts of Maple Ridge-Mission and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows were created, but Dewdney once represented all three of those municipalities, in a large territory stretching eastward to the Harrison River.
There were three BC premier’s from Dewdney.
The first MLA for Westminster-Dewdney was Sir Richard McBride, elected in 1898. Then he was elected under the new Conservative Party banner for the new riding of Dewdney in 1903, and was named premier.
He won that 1903 election with 427 votes, out of 646 cast. The father of the Conservative Party, McBride served until 1909. There is a town in northern B.C. named for him.
Liberal John Oliver was the 19th premier of the province, and was the Dewdney MLA from 1916 until 1920, serving as premier in 1918. He was also the MLA for Victoria and, Delta and Nelson during a long political career, sitting in the legislature from 1900 until 1927. The town of Oliver is named for him, as well as a Vancouver secondary school.
Dave Barrett led the NDP to its first victory over W.A.C. Bennett’s Social Credit government in 1972 and was premier until 1975. A training officer at the Haney Correctional Institute, Barrett served as the Dewdney MLA from 1960-1966. He served in the legislature until 1984.
Another recognizable name – Nelson Seymour Lougheed – represented the riding from 1928 until 1933 as a Conservative. He was a Maple Ridge mayor, and operated a sawmill in Partnership with G.G. Abernethy. Lougheed’s campaign speeches concentrated on the need for more roads throughout the province. After being elected, he served as minister of lands and minister of public works, and oversaw the building of the highway named after him.
Haney auto dealer George Mussallem was a key figure in the politics of Dewdney, first winning the riding for Social Credit in 1966. He served as MLA until 1983, but not continuously – an election loss that left him sidelined from 1972-1975.
The new riding of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows was created in 1991, and it has flipped back and forth from New Democrats to Liberals, making it the battleground riding it remains today.
William Hartley held it for the NDP from 1991 until 2001. Liberal Ken Stewart took it in 2001. The NDP’s Michael Sather won it back and held it from 2005 until 2013. Liberal Doug Bing carried the riding in 2013, and then NDP’s Lisa Beare took it back in 2017. Beare is opposed by the BC Liberal Party’s Cheryl Ashlie in Saturday’s election.
It is a massive riding by Lower Mainland standards, and extends northward about 85 km, taking in the entire Pitt River watershed, farther north than Squamish, and close to Whistler.
The riding of Maple Ridge-Mission has been more staunchly Liberal, with Randy Hawes defending it from 2001 until 2009, and then Marc Dalton holding it from 2009-2017. The NDP’s Bob D’Eith beat Dalton in a close race – 10,989 votes to 10,664 – in the last election. He is running against Liberal Chelsa Meadus and Green Party Candidate Matt Trenholm in 2020.