The son of a Jewish fruit peddler, Dave Barrett was born October 2, 1930 in Vancouver. He gained his B.A. in Philosophy from Seattle University in 1953 and his M.A. in Social Work at St. Louis University in 1956. He worked at the Haney Correctional Institute and sought the CCF nomination in Dewdney in 1959. He was first elected to the B.C. legislature in 1960. He became leader of the provincial NDP in 1970. He served as premier from 1972 to 1975. He resigned as leader of the provincial party in 1984 and tried working as a talk show host. He was elected as a federal NDP MP in 1988 and narrowly lost the national party leadership contest in 1989 to Audrey McLaughlin. He remained in office until 1993. After leaving politics Barrett was appointed as an adjunct professor in political science at SFU, and lectured at Harvard, McGill and Western Washington University. He also wrote a memoir Barrett, A Passionate Political Life (Douglas & McIntyre, 1995) with reporter William Miller of the Times-Colonist. In 1999 he led a commission to investigate the phenomenon of 'leaky condos' in the Lower Mainland.

A critical view of Barrett's years as premier was quickly presented by Kavic and Nixon in The 1200 Days: A Shattered Dream, published in 1978. It wasn't until Geoff Meggs and Rod Mickleburgh published The Art of the Impossible (Harbour 2012) that a supportive summary was provided by two veteran journalists as a counterpoint.


Barrett, A Passionate Political Life (Douglas & McIntyre, 1995). With William Miller

[BCBW 2012] "Politics"