Thursday, January 19, 2006

Calgary Herald Remembers R.B. Bennet

In their editorial endorsing Harpers Conservatives, no surprise there, the Calgary Herald says;

The Calgary Herald is a conservative newspaper in a vibrant, entrepreneurial city, now on the verge of giving Canada a Calgary prime minister for the first time in 71 years, since R.B. Bennett (1930-35).

Bennett was one of Canada's most despised PM's. As he had the unfortunate luck to be PM during the Depression. The Government created releif camps for the unemployed, which were operated by the Military. They were Internment camps, Concentration camps by any other name.

Reform was in the air in the West, left wing reform the CCF had published the Regina Manifesto and was running Federally for the first time.

The Communist party organized Hunger Marches, unemployed unions, and demands for Unemployment Insurance, and welfare! These protests were brutally surpressed by provincial governments at the behest of the Bennett government. Which ended up with the On To Ottawa Trek. Which ended in Regina with the death of two workers and thousands of Canadians injured.

See: Conservative Governments Kill Workers

During the depression farmers who lost it froced the Government to create the Canadian Wheat Board to put a halt to the open market trading which had bankrupted them. Without gas for their vehicles they ended up having cars pulled by horses. This was known as the Bennett buggy.

Derisively named after prime minister R B Bennett, Bennett Buggies,

automobiles pulled by horses, were used by farmers too impoverished to purchase gasoline.

Prime Minister R.B. Bennett
R.B. Bennett R.B. Bennett (1870-1947) was born in New Brunswick, Conservative federal member for Calgary in 1912, justice minister in 1921, finance minister in 1926, and Prime Minister, 1930-1935.

By 1933, the Depression was at its worst and Bennett's government appeared indecisive and ineffectual. He became the butt of jokes such as "Bennett buggies," cars pulled by horses or oxen because the owners could no longer afford gasoline. Dissension was widespread throughout the party and Cabinet due to Bennett's inability to delegate authority. He held the portfolios for finance and for external affairs, and his failure to consult with Cabinet angered his ministers. One in particular, Henry Stevens, openly rebelled. His insistence that the Conservatives adopt a radical platform of political and social reform caused a rift in the party. Stevens eventually resigned and formed a new, but short-lived political entity, the Reconstruction party. Influenced by American President Roosevelt's "New Deal," Bennett proposed a new platform of government policy in 1935, announced to the nation in a series of radio broadcasts. Abandoning his previous policies, Bennett advocated minimum wage, health and unemployment insurance, government regulation of banking and trade, and other social reforms. But it was too late; Bennett and his party were too closely associated with the hardships of the Depression.

Yep this sure is something we want to remember. Thanks Calgary Herald for reminding us of what a success the last Conservative PM from Calgary was.

The evolution of Stephen Harper and his party

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