Stanley B. Hagen
MLA Comox Riding, Cabinet Minister
Inducted: August 22, 2009
Being inducted into the Comox Valley Walk of Achievement would have pleased the late Honourable Stanley B. Hagen. It shows that the local community appreciated the work he accomplished in his 13 years in provincial government.
He always said he that he learnt about politics by serving on the Church Council. He learnt his social conscience watching his father who had been a Salvation Army Officer in Oslo, Norway. Stan’s father, Baard Hagen, a butcher by trade, immigrated to New Westminster where he opened Hagen’s Meats and Groceries. As a small boy, Stan learnt that many people bought their groceries on “credit”, but his father never pressed anyone for payment. He learnt that you had to help people through their trouble.
The Hagen family moved to the Comox Valley in 1968. Stan became active in the community sitting on the Courtenay Advisory Planning Commission and served as Coordinator of Big Brothers. He first entered local politics in November, 1972 being elected as a School Board Trustee. He served on the Board of School District 71 for six years and served as Board Chairman. He is survived by his wife Judy and five children.
The Honourable Stanley B. Hagen was the MLA for the Comox Riding (1986-1991) (2001-2009).
Hagen served the citizens of British Columbia in ten Cabinet Portfolios
• Minister of Agriculture and Lands
• Minister of Tourism, Sports and the Arts
• Minister of Children and Family Development
• Minister of Human Resources
• Minister of Sustainable Resource Management
• Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
• Minister of Advanced Education, Job Training, Science & Technology
• Minister of Regional and Economic Development
• Minister of Education
• Minister of State for the Vancouver Island / Coast Region
Additional positions, achievements and honours include:
• West Coast Chairman of MILAP Programme
• VIA Rail Board of Directors
• Canada’s Representative for the KAON Project
• Honourary Doctorate of Law Degree (SFU)
• Canadian Advanced Technology Association Award of Distinction
• Friend of Science World
• Paul Harris Fellow
• “Ti’ axwsam” (Red Cod) K’omoks First Nation name
• Button Blanket presented by the Weiwaikum People
Stan put the personal in politics, he always made a personal connection to whatever he was doing as minister. It enabled him to become very good at networking around the province. Many times when he was anticipating that a particular meeting would be difficult he would spot someone who looked familiar and the mood of the meeting would change.
In 2001 as Minister of Sustainable research Development, he was to meet with the First Nation Chiefs from the Central Coast. He spotted a chief he had known from the years he had worked in Rivers Inlet with Nelson Brothers Fisheries. With that connection, everyone around the table relaxed because they knew Stan understood their problems.
The Central Coast Land Resource Management Plan was Stan’s greatest achievement. He guided an innovative consensus-based resource land use plan that balanced the interests of industry, the First Nations and conservationists. This laid the foundation for the creation of 24 new conservancies protecting over 500,000 hectares of land including the home of the Spirit Bear.
He was given the name Tl’axwsam (Red Cod) by the K’omoks First Nation. Nanawakolas Council President Dallas Smith said Hagen was one of the first BC Cabinet Ministers to embrace First Nations. In fact, a voicemail message from Dallas that Stan never heard before his sudden death was, “What you have done for our people will last an eternity.”
Always a consensus builder, working with the Ministry of Advanced Education he cancelled the Advisory Board and worked with the University Presidents by asking for their input. He established the Matching Funds Program.
He was an advocate for science and technology, particularly the KAON project and the TRIUMF Facility; he understood the economic importance of research to BC and to Canada. He championed Science World. Stan established the Passport to Education and the Scientist in the Schools Programme.
Dr. Eric Vogt, one of the founders of the $1 billion TRIUMF particle accelerator at UBC said he was “caught” by Hagen’s vision almost as soon as he became a minister. “He came to us at TRIUMF,” said Vogt. “Stan understood, right from the beginning, that this was an investment also for economic development. Stan understood that if you want world-class spinoffs, you need world-class science. He understood that far better than any economist that I know and he supported it.”
Hagen began the process that created the University of Northern BC and extended degree status to three BC Colleges.
We'd like to acknowledge the Comox Valley Echo (Judy Hagen, Hunt For History) and the Comox Valley Record for their research and articles about these Comox Valley Walk of Achievement Honourees.
Special thanks to Bruce McPhee whose support enabled us to create this website and the Honouree signage along Fifth Street in Courtenay, BC.