This post is in recognition of the provincial general election in my home province of Alberta today.
The photo is of The Frying Dutchman concession stand at the 1972 Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). In B.C., from 1939-82, election polling during provincial elections was effectively banned. Vancouver Sun columnist, Vaughn Palmer, described how the founder of De Dutch Pannekoek House got around this ban:
“…[S]tarting with the 1963 provincial election, restaurateur John Dys, the self-styled Frying Dutchman (and later founder of De Dutch Pannekoek House chain) found a way around the ban that was as subversive as it was entertaining.
Patrons to his then-modest trio of food service outlets were invited to choose among four hamburgers, each priced at 49 cents (those were the days) and distinguishable only by being named after one of the leaders of the four parties contending that year’s election.
Dys began posting the results in the window of his restaurant in downtown Vancouver partway through the campaign, promptly drawing a threat of prosecution from provincial officials. Armed with legal advice that his patrons were not really choosing among candidates, only among hamburgers, he did not back down.“
Dys’ polls correctly forecast the success of W.A.C. Bennett’s Social Credit Party in forming a government in 1963 and the win of Dave Barrett’s New Democratic Party in 1972. The results of “today’s straw poll” for the ongoing 1972 federal election indicate that Dys’ burger poll would again prove broadly accurate. The results of the 1972 federal election were:
Pierre Trudeau (Liberal): 38.42% (Burger Poll: 49.12%)
Robert Stanfield (PC): 35.02% (BP: 20.40%)
David Lewis (NDP): 17.83% (BP: 22.67%)
Real Caouette (Social Credit): 7.55% (BP: 7.81%)
Trudeau formed a minority government in 1972 with the NDP holding the balance of power for a couple years.