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Rita Margaret Johnston (1935 - )

Rita Margaret Johnston (1935 - )

Rita Johnston was Canada's first female Premier. She was involved in BC politics at the municipal and provincial levels, and was known for being a hard worker and a team player.

  • She began her political career in 1969 when she was elected Councillor in Surrey, BC. Her interest in politics was sparked by dealings with the municipality during the establishment of her family business, a mobile home park.
  • In 1975, Johnston ran for Mayor of Surrey, losing by less than 100 votes. She served on the Council for the District of Surrey.
  • In 1983, She became an MLA in the BC Legislative Assembly as a member of the BC Social Credit Party. She held the positions of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
  • Premier Bill Vander Zalm appointed her to Cabinet in 1986.
  • Upon Vander Zalm's resignation in 1991, Johnston was chosen interim leader of the Social Credit Party by the party caucus, thus becoming Acting Premier and the first woman premier in Canada. Johnston intended to make her mark in this role, but her party lost the next election.
  • Johnston stepped down as leader of the party in January 1992 and retired from politics.
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