British Columbia

Steven Point ends term as B.C. Lt.-Gov. on high note

Steven Point ended his five-year posting as B.C.'s 28th lieutenant-governor on a high note Thursday, belting out a song he says he wrote for the people of the province.
Outgoing Lt.-Gov. Steven Point enjoys a laugh at his farewell ceremony Thursday in Victoria. (CBC)

Steven Point ended his five-year posting as B.C.’s 28th lieutenant-governor on a high note Thursday, boldly and unabashedly belting out the song he says he wrote for the people of the province one night while sitting alone in Government House, his official residence.

Point raised his hands and sang as aboriginal dancers, a choir and the HMCS Naden Band accompanied the outgoing vice-regal in song.

"This song I wrote in the middle of the night one night," he said of the piece of music he titled British Columbia.

"You're at Government House, by yourself, with security and there are 102 rooms up there. There's not much to do. But I heard this song and I wrote it down."

Point, a former Skowkale First Nation chief, provincial court judge and treaty negotiator, was the first aboriginal person appointed to represent the Queen in B.C.

Pickup truck and country songs

Known to park his 1977 GMC pickup truck at Government House and strum country songs in its stately rooms, Point embodied down-home charm but was dignified, honest and wise in the way he approached people.

Premier Christy Clark said she will cherish her meetings with Point, especially the wisdom he provided during their chats.

"He brought dignity, humility and no small measure of humour to this prestigious appointment."

Point demonstrated that humour when he took to the microphone.

Point carved a native canoe during his stint as lieutenant-governor.

"I feel like Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz. I'm going to go home now, but not without having brought with me and [wife] Gwen a lot great memories and great moments here at the legislative assembly and throughout British Columbia."

Clark presented Point with a handmade guitar, which he immediately took from its case.

Point did more than write songs and entertain guests at Government House. He also carved a dug-out cedar canoe in one the residence's garages and erected a totem in its garden.

Point said his legacy will go beyond the totem, canoe and the song he wrote, though he said he hopes the song will be an anthem children and adults will be proud to sing.

He said the canoe on display at the B.C. legislature and the totem at Government House reflect the values he wanted to bring to the post.

Point will be replaced by Judith Guichon, a rancher from B.C.'s Interior, an official ceremony on Friday.

With files from the CBC's Stephen Smart