Interviewed by Patricia Wejr and Donna Sacuta
Paul Ramsey was born in the United States in 1944. His father was an engineer and a Democrat, who served as a council member for 16 years in the suburb where Paul grew up. Paul aspired to be an academic and in 1971 he moved to British Columbia with his family to pursue doctorate work at the University of British Columbia. In 1975, after he had completed his studies, he accepted a job at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, having been attracted to the philosophy of community-based post-secondary education. At the time, the Dave Barrett NDP government was setting up community colleges in B.C. The faculties at the colleges began to unionize and Paul became active in this movement too. The college locals formed CIEA, the College Institutes Educators Association, and in addition to being active in the FACNC (Faculty Association of the College of New Caledonia) Paul served as president of CIEA from 1987 to 1989. In 1991, he was elected as an NDP MLA for Prince George. During his 10 years as an MLA, he also served as the Minister of Health, the Minister of Education, and the Minister of Finance. In 2001, he left provincial politics and returned to teaching in Prince George.
Keywords: Community college movement; union organizing; CIEA (College Institutes Educators Association); CFF (College Faculties Federation); Academic Workers’ Union; NDP government; HIV and AIDS; unsafe blood supply; Canadian Blood Services; professional workers and the right to unionize; affiliation to the BC Federation of Labour; BCTF (British Columbia Teachers’ Federation); CAUT (Canadian Association of University Teachers); FPSE (Federation of Post-Secondary Educators); FACNC (Faculty Association of the College of New Caledonia); part time jobs replacing full time jobs; PPWC (Public Private Workers of Canada); strikes; Operation Solidarity; Access to Abortion Services Act; Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail; Medicare Protection Act; COVID; Dave Barrett; Lois Boone; Alf Nunweiler; Glen Clark; Marianne Alto; Pat McGeer; Walter Hardwick; Ed Lavalle; Dr. Gary Romalis; Penny Priddy; Colin Gablemann; Dr. Bonnie Henry