Former Social Credit MLA dies at 88

Lyall Hanson was mayor of Vernon in 1981 and moved to provincial politics from 1986-96

A former Vernon mayor and MLA has died.

Lyall Hanson died Monday at age 88 following a lengthy illness.

Hanson was mayor of Vernon, starting in 1981, before entering provincial politics in 1986, becoming a Social Credit MLA in the Okanagan-North riding from 1986 to 1991, and then Okanagan-Vernon from 1991-96.

He served under Premier Bill Vander Zalm as Minister of Labour and Consumer Affairs from 1986 to 1989, and Minister of Municipal Affairs from 1989 to 1991.

“Lyall was one of the finest people I had the pleasure of serving with during all of my long political involvement,” said Vander Zalm from his Lower Mainland home Wednesday evening.

“He was straight, honest and a good guy. I’m sorry to hear of his passing.”

Current Vernon-Monashee Liberal MLA Eric Foster paid tribute to Hanson in the Legislature Tuesday.

“Lyall was the mayor of Vernon before he was an MLA, a tireless supporter of our community at that time, and certainly, after he retired from provincial politics,” said Foster. “To many of us in those days — younger, aspiring politicians — he was a great mentor and a source of a lot of knowledge.

“At the end of the Socred era, Lyall was one of the few Socreds that we managed to get re-elected.”

He was named interim leader for the Social Credit party in 1994 but soon after joined the Reform Party.

Anne Clarke served with Hanson on Vernon council and succeeded Hanson as mayor in 1986.

“Lyall was the one who encouraged me to run for mayor,” said Clarke. “He was a really good businessman, full of common sense. Whenever we had reports from staff, his approach was very business-like and down to earth.

“We worked well with council as a team. We could give input and he would change his mind on something if he heard something that made sense.”

No details on a funeral service have been announced.

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