The Bust of Mayor Gerry McGeer at City Hall Vancouver B.C.
The following link has been also been added: http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/727851–cambridge-girl-spurs-debate-about-economic-system
Born in 1888, Gerald Gratton McGeer moved with his family to Vancouver as a young child. His father having come from County Kildare originally.
He studied law at Dalhousie University and first attained notoriety in the 1920s representing the Government of British Columbia in its case against discriminatory freight rates to the west coast. McGeer won the case and earned a reputation as “the man who flattened the Rockies”. He carried on a lifelong battle against all forms of bias against the west, claiming it was 3,000 miles from Vancouver to Ottawa but 30,000 miles from Ottawa to Vancouver.
He entered political life in 1933 by winning a seat in the British Columbia Legislature for the Liberal Party of B.C. Government.McGeer entered civic politics by winning the 1934 Vancouver mayoralty election against incumbent L.D. Taylor with the biggest margin of victory in Vancouver’s civic history. McGeer then launched a baby bond scheme in the midst of the great depression to finance a new city hall.
The location in what was then considered the boondocks of 12th avenue and Cambie Street was universally criticized. He next organized elaborate celebrations to mark Vancouver’s golden jubilee in 1936, While some applauded his efforts to boost civic pride, others denounced extravagances such as the $35,000 fountain for Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon.
While still Mayor, McGeer ran as a Liberal Party candidate in the Canadian Federal Election of 1935, narrowly winning the Electoral district of Burrard. He became a vocal advocate of monetary reform as the answer to the great depression. His was one of the most forceful voices in Canada calling for government intervention in the credit system even before the establishment of the Bank of Canada.
His lifelong ambition was to obtain a position where he could implement his reform ideas, but his theories were too radical to be entertained in Ottawa.
He remained on the back benches until his appointment to the Senate in 1945. McGeer returned to Vancouver civic politics with another landslide mayoralty victory in 1946. He died in office a few months later and therefore did not see the fruits of his latest reform drive. Gerry McGeer’s economic ideas are described in his 1935 book, Conquest of Poverty, or Money, Humanity and Christianity. David Williams has written an entertaining biography entitled Mayor Gerry.