“Dave Barrett inspired so many to public service and to the cause of a more equal and just society. His legacy will be felt for generations.
“From public auto insurance to the Agricultural Land Reserve, Barrett’s accomplishments are legion. It is frankly incredible what he and his B.C. government were able to achieve, often against fierce and unrelenting opposition.
“Before Barrett, corporal punishment was allowed in B.C. schools and there were no transcripts of proceedings in the provincial legislature. He changed all that and so much more. He was a great modernizing force in Canadian life.
“Combative, funny and incredibly charming, Barrett embodied a pugnacious and populist style of politics that connected with the lives and aspirations of ordinary people. He passionately believed that government belonged to the people, not just to the rich, and could be a force for good in their lives.
“I had the privilege of knowing him and was inspired by his life and work. As a young law student, I brought him to speak at Osgoode Hall and supported his leadership bid for the federal NDP in 1989. To this day I remember how his barn-burning speaking style, combined with his keen intellect, captured the imagination and support of a roomful of otherwise skeptical law students. I won’t soon forget all that he taught me and so many of my friends.
“On behalf of the Government of Alberta, I offer our sincerest condolences to his family and to all those who mourn his loss in British Columbia and across the country.”