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Former BC premier Vander Zalm pitchman for BCAA

Tongue-in-cheek commercials

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

VICTORIA, BC - Dutch Canadian William N. Vander Zalm is one of the three former Premiers of British Columbia featured in recent television commercials for the province’s Automobile Association (BCAA). Joining Vander Zalm as pitchmen for the Premier membership are former premiers Dave Barrett and Glen Clark.

The tongue-in-cheek commercial with Vander Zalm shows the former politician trying to coax his stalled car back to life on a deserted mountain road. Frustrated with his lack of success - or lack of technical savvy - he tells his wife Lillian that as Premier he just would have been given a replacement car. The couple is then seen trying to thumb a ride, although Vander Zalm remains frustrated with being stranded.

The commercial is part of BCAA’s launch of its newest level of membership - called BCAA Premier. The spot has a voice-over extolling some of the advantages of this highest level-of-service-membership, which includes long-distance towing and car replacements.

Vander Zalm, who has been a BCAA member for nearly fifty years, and the two other former BC Premiers, did not get paid for their acting. Instead, BCAA made a donation in his name to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (British Columbia Division) and the Delta Community Living Society.

A garden outlet retailer and nurseryman, Vander Zalm and his family emigrated to Canada in 1947where they joined their father and husband who was in North America on a salestrip when the Netherlands was invaded by the German army in 1940. Vander Zalm was a former Social Credit cabinet minister and a former mayor when he won the Social Credit leadership and became BC’s 28th Premier in 1986. He resigned amidst controversy in 1991.