Even now, more than a quarter century later, Kevin Falcon sounds slightly awestruck, almost gushing, when he talks about his most memorable encounter with one of the major political inspirations of his life, former premier Bill Bennett.
It was at the Hotel Vancouver during the height of the union-organized Solidarity protests against the premier’s restraint plans in the fall of 1983. On Oct. 15, 60,000 protesters surrounded the hotel, where the Social Credit party was holding its annual convention, one of the largest political protests this province has ever seen. But inside the hotel’s convention rooms, amid the carpets and chandeliers, Socreds of all descriptions were networking as usual.
The 20-year-old Falcon, an insurance broker and Junior Chamber of Commerce vice-president active in the Young Socreds, walked past the premier as he was talking with Peter Brown and Murray Pezim, two major power brokers.
“I was standing there hoping that maybe when their discussion was finished, I might get a chance to introduce him to my friends. And the premier saw me, said, ‘Excuse me,’ to these very important people and came over and said, ‘Hello, Kevin, How are you? Good to see you.’”