Stanley Ronald Basford, PC (April 22, 1932 – January 31, 2005) was a long-time Canadian Cabinet minister[1] in the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau.[2] Based in British Columbia, he was known as "Mr. Granville Island"[3] for his support of the Granville Island redevelopment project in Vancouver.[4]

Ron Basford
Plaque describing namee of Ron Basford Park
Stanley Ronald Basford

(1932-04-22)April 22, 1932
DiedJanuary 31, 2005(2005-01-31) (aged 72)

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba Basford moved with his mother to Comox, British Columbia, following the death of his father, where he completed his last three years of high school. He then attended the University of British Columbia, earning a law degree in 1956. Following his period of Articles, he was admitted to the Bar, and practised law for the next six years.

Basford had become interested in politics in his early teenage years and was very active in the Liberal Party while at university. He was nominated as the Liberal candidate in Vancouver Burrard in March, 1962, and contested the election in June of that year, at the age of 29, losing by 94 votes.

Basford was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Vancouver—Burrard in the 1963 election and was re-elected in the 1965 election. From 1968 to 1979, he represented the riding of Vancouver Centre.

In 1968, Trudeau brought Basford into cabinet as Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs. He subsequently served as Minister of State for Urban Affairs (1972–1974), Minister of National Revenue (1974–1975) and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (1975–1978).

As Vancouver's leading cabinet minister, Basford is credited with helping to scuttle plans for an expressway along the city's waterfront that would have levelled the Gastown and Chinatown neighbourhoods, for encouraging local planning and neighbourhood improvement, and for helping win federal support for the construction of thousands of units of co-operative housing in the city.

As Consumer and Corporate Affairs minister, Basford shepherded the passage of legislation that dramatically reduced pharmaceutical prices. This gave Canada the lowest drug prices in the industrialized world into the late 1980s when the legislation was repealed by the Mulroney government. Basford also had passed into law the Hazardous Products Act that eliminated flammable children's bedding and clothing from the market. His most controversial move, at the time, was the adoption of the SI (metric) system as Canada's official standard of weights and measures. This provoked strong opposition from many Canadians, but has since been accepted.

During his 30 months as Minister of State for Urban Affairs, Basford led the new Ministry into the uncharted waters of Federal/Provincial/Municipal consultation and cooperation through the development of Tri Level Conferences and working groups, improving the relationships among Canada's three levels of government. At the same time, he sponsored a complete revision of the National Housing Act, which initiated an era of wider programs of social housing and financial aid to municipalities through the Neighbourhood Improvement Program and the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program.

As Justice minister, Basford arranged a clemency agreement that kept abortion rights campaigner and practitioner Henry Morgentaler out of jail. He was also Justice minister in 1976 when Canada abolished capital punishment, and when the Canadian Human Rights Act was amended to require equal pay for equal work regardless of gender.

Basford retired from cabinet in 1978, as the longest-serving minister from BC since Confederation, and did not run in the 1979 election. He practised law with the Vancouver law firm of Davis and Company, and was named coordinator by the governments of BC and Canada of the complex Northeast Coal Development in 1982.

Hill is centre of Ron Basford Park in Granville Island

Ron Basford Park at Granville Island is named after him.

Electoral historyEdit

1974 Canadian federal election: Vancouver Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Ron Basford 19,064 41.74 +0.39
Progressive Conservative Doug Davis 17,143 37.53 +7.27
New Democratic Ron Johnson 8,859 19.39 -7.26
Social Credit Walter Muller 257 0.56 -0.79
Communist Betty Greenwell 213 0.47
Marxist–Leninist Charles Shrybman 141 0.31
Total valid votes 45,677 100.0  
Liberal hold Swing -3.44
1972 Canadian federal election: Vancouver Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Ron Basford 19,341 41.35 -14.75
Progressive Conservative John McDonald 14,156 30.26 +11.89
New Democratic Ron K. Johnson 12,470 26.66 +2.05
Social Credit Nicholas Zambus 632 1.35
Independent Arnold August 77 0.16
Independent Ray Dodge 55 0.12
Independent Daniel Ivan Fedoruk 46 0.10
Total valid votes 46,777 100.0  
Liberal hold Swing -13.32
1968 Canadian federal election: Vancouver Centre
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Ron Basford 25,426 56.10 +16.02
New Democratic William Deverell 11,151 24.60 +1.54
Progressive Conservative David W. Kilgour 8,326 18.37 -9.43
Republican Gerard Guejon[5] 420 0.93
Total valid votes 45,323 100.0  
Liberal hold Swing +7.24


  1. ^ "Ron Basford, 72, served in Canadian Cabinet | the Seattle Times".
  2. ^
  3. ^ "History of Granville Island – Granville Island".
  4. ^
  5. ^ Vancouver Sun, June 26, 1968, "Republicans Claim Win", p. 15

External linksEdit

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Vancouver—Burrard
Succeeded by
Last member, riding abolished in 1966
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of National Revenue
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Preceded by Solicitor General of Canada
Succeeded by