SPLANE, Richard B.




Author Tags: Politics

Richard (Dick) Splane published a biography of one of British Columbia's most distinguished public administrators, George Davidson, who began his public service career in B.C. during the 1930s and 1940s. Born in 1909, George Forrester Davidson received his Ph.D as a classics scholar from Harvard where he wrote his thesis in Latin. Appointed Superintendent of Welfare in B.C. despite his lack of training, Davidson learned on the job from B.C.'s first professional social worker, Laura Holland, and Dr. Harry Cassidy. He took over from Cassidy as B.C.'s Director of Welfare in 1939 and soon thereafter became director of the Canadian Welfare Council. He served as Deputy Minister for National Health and Welfare from 1944 to 1960, helping to administer the new Family Allowance program, then later worked in Citizenship and Immigration, as Secretary to the Treasury Board and as head of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Urged to accept the CBC job by Prime Minister Lester Pearson, Davidson was in charge during the FLQ crisis. He accepted the most senior post ever held by a Canadian in the United Nations when he became Under-Secretary General for Administration and Management in 1972. He died in Victoria in 1995, having received various honorary degrees and citations. Splane's biography is George Davidson: Social Policy and Public Policy Exemplar (Ottawa: Canadian Council on Social Development, 2003).

[BCBW 2004]