We’re Here for Joe

CVA 180-7542 – Progressive Conservative Party trailer on [PNE] grounds. 1978. Bob Tipple photo. (Image has been slightly cropped and the colour of the original image has been adjusted; the white balance was awry).

This image was made during the 1978 Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) at Hastings Park. It takes me back to the beginnings of my political awareness, Joe Clark’s all-too-brief period as the last of the Red Tory leaders of the Progressive Conservative Party (Stephen Harper and Co., I suspect, would consider “Red Tory” to be either an oxymoron, or a curse word).

The fellow facing the camera appears to be the candidate and then-M.P. for the riding of Fraser Valley, West, Robert L. Wenman. He was first elected in that constituency in 1974 and was subsequently re-elected in 1979, 1980 (following the conclusion of Prime Minister Clark’s brief government and the resurrection of Trudeau to lead the Liberal Party back into power), 1984, and 1988. Before running as a federal candidate, he trained as a teacher in Saskatchewan (where he was born and raised) and was elected in 1966 (and re-elected in 1969) as a Social Credit MLA in BC’s legislature. He died in 1995, a relatively young man (54), after contracting a bacterial infection while on a business trip to Asia.

For more about Robert L. Wenman and his political careers, see here and here.

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