Neighbourhood: City Centre
Philip Arthur Gaglardi (January 13, 1913 – September 23, 1995), sometimes known as Flyin’ Phil or even Sorry Phil, was a politician in the Canadian province of British Columbia. He served as Minister of Highways in the BC government from 1952 to 1968.
He was first elected to the legislature in the 1952 election as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) as part of the British Columbia Social Credit League. The party had enough seats to form a minority government, but had no leader. Gaglardi ran for the post, but lost in a vote of caucus members by 10 to 9 to W.A.C. Bennett. Gagliardi became a leading member of Bennett’s cabinet.
His term as Minister of Highways was marked by rapid expansion of the province’s paved road system, as well as the completion of most of the major road bridges in British Columbia.
He is probably mostly remembered for his flamboyant style. He was first noted for the “Sorry for the delays” signs he had put up at road construction areas (hence, “Sorry Phil”).
What really got him noticed was how he managed to convince a reluctant W.A.C. Bennett to buy the government a Lear jet (hence, “Flyin’ Phil”). Premier Bennett was travelling in a newly inaugurated government-owned ferry to Prince Rupert. To demonstrate that the ferry was too slow for government business, he convinced a pilot friend to fly him to Prince Rupert in a Lear jet, thereby managing to get there before Bennett did. Gaglardi waited on the dock to greet the Premier with a purchase contract for the plane. The plane was quickly purchased.
Another explanation of Gaglardi’s nickname was his propensity for getting speeding tickets whilst driving in large American cars around the province checking on the progress of road construction.
He was forced to resign in 1968 over allegations he flew relatives in the government jet.
Subsequent to his political career, Gaglardi ran a successful hotel chain in Western Canada known as the Sandman Inns.
Gagliardi died on September 13, 1995.