W. A. C. Bennett

William Andrew Cecil Bennett PC, OC ( born September 6, 1900 in Hastings, New Brunswick; † 23 February 1979 in Kelowna ), usually referred to as WAC Bennett, was a Canadian politician. With a term of twenty years, he is still the longest reigning Premier of British Columbia. He ruled this province from 1 August 1952 to 15 September 1972, during this time was Chairman of the British Columbia Social Credit Party. His son, Bill Bennett held this office from 1975 to 1986. His father was a third cousin of Richard Bedford Bennett, the Prime Minister of Canada's 1930 until 1935.

Provincial policy

As Bennett was 18 years old, he moved with his family first to Edmonton and a little later after Westlock, where his father owned a hardware store. In 1930 he settled in Kelowna and opened her own shop there. In 1932 he joined the Freemasons. From 1937 to 1939 he was president of the Chamber of Commerce Kelowna. Bennett joined the British Columbia Conservative Party and was elected to the South Okanagan constituency in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia on October 21, 1941. After his plan was to, Party Leader of the Conservative Party, are failed, he joined in 1951 from the party, politicized initially as an independent and even joined the British Columbia Social Credit Party in the same year.

The conservative-liberal coalition government led 1952 Instant Runoff Voting as a voting system, in the expectation that conservative voters would give the Liberals as a second preference, and vice versa. So a victory of the Social Democratic Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF ) should be prevented. From this electoral system, however, did not benefit the government parties, but, surprisingly, the Socreds, who formed a minority government. The party at that time had no chairman and chose Bennett on 15 June 1952 in this office.

Prime minister

On August 1, 1952 sworn Lieutenant Governor Clarence Wallace Bennett as Prime Minister. 1953 succeeded the Socreds to win fresh elections for the first time the majority of seats. Bennett's party was originally created to implement the theories of Social Credit. But this was at the provincial level alone is not possible, which is why the old ideology Bennett gave up quickly and a conservative party made ​​up the Socreds populist character. By repeated before the " red menace " and before " socialist hordes " warned succeeded his party, the CCF (later the British Columbia New Democratic Party ) away from the government.

During his twenty -year tenure Bennett was not only head of government, but also exercised the office of the Minister of Finance from. Many large infrastructure projects have been realized, the expansion of the main road network, the extension of the British Columbia Railway in the north of the province, as well as hydropower plants on the Peace River and the Columbia River. While Bennett supported in principle the free market economy, but nationalized the electricity companies in 1961 and founded the state company BC Hydro. Three years earlier, he co-founded the ferry company BC Ferries. Bennett's government restricted the rights of trade unions, held the administrative apparatus small and cut social spending, but built from the education system.

In the elections in August 1972, the Socreds suffered a crushing defeat. On September 15, 1972 Bennett resigned as Prime Minister and handed the office of David Barrett. He initially remained opposition leader, then put but in June 1973 a seat in parliament down. His son, Bill Bennett won three months later, this seat at a by-election, was elected in November 1973 as the new party chairman and was Prime Minister from 1975 to 1986 itself.

WAC Bennett was awarded in 1976 the Order of Canada. He died in 1979 at the age of 78 and was buried in the municipal cemetery of Kelowna. 1998 honored him with a postage stamp Canada Post. According to him the W. A. C. Bennett Dam is named, also the library of the Simon Fraser University bears his name.

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