Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wacky Premiers

Winston Churchill out for a swim, wearing a typical swimsuit of the day.

Elvis Presley in the Army.
Albert Einstein.

The first McDonald's. Notice how you can buy the hamburgers by the bag?

William Andrew Cecil Bennett was born September 6, 1900 in Hastings, New Brunswick. Bennett was educated in NB schools and in 1930, he and a partner bought a hardware store in Kelowna. This store became successful and Bennett branched out into politics.

In 1941, William was elected Conservative MLA for the Okanagan. He sat as a Coalition backbencher and served on the Post-War Rehabilitation Council. However, in 1951 he crossed the floor and sat as an Independent. In the June of 1952. Bennett was re-elected as a Social Credit candidate and was later chosen as caucus leader. On August 1, 1952, William was called on by the lieutenant governor to form a government.

The Great San Francisco fire and earthquake in 1906.

Hitler in Paris.
The beginning of Google with 34 people.

The construction of Disneyland.

Known as "Wacky Bennett" to some and "Cece" to his friends, British Columbia's 25th premier came to power during a time of prosperity. Two decades to be exact.

Bennett's administration took credit for the construction and improvement of highways, the northern extensions of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway and major hydroelectric projects on the Peace and Columbia rivers. In 1961, Wacky and his government expropriated the province's largest privately owned hydroelectric firm, even though Bennett claimed to support free enterprise. They also took over the Black Ball ferry line and created the BC Ferry Corporation in 1958 and tried to establish the Bank of British Columbia with a 25% provincial ownership.
This photo takes us back to 1897 on board the USS Oregon for a boxing match.

A World Series game in 1912.
Fidel Castro honours Abraham Lincoln by laying a wreath at the Lincoln Memorial.

January 18, 1943, a group of British SAS officers returned from a three month long patrol in North Africa.

Cece acted as his own finance minister from 1953 on. He followed a "pay as you go" and closely watched spending. Bennett transferred debts or "contingent liabilities" to agencies such as the Toll Highway and Bridge authority so that he claimed the province debt free in 1959.

Bennett's administration curbed the power of unions, limited social-welfare spending, trimmed civil service while expanding post-secondary educational facilities. Cece also had long, drawn out disputes with the federal government concerning such issues as tax sharing, constitutional reform and the Columbia River Treaty. (The treaty dealt with the co-operative development of the Columbia River between the US and Canada.)

In August of 1972, the people elected a new leader, Dave Barrett of the NDP. Bennett resigned as leader of the Social Credit party and as MLA. In 1976, William Andrew Cecil Bennett was made an officer of the Order of Canada. In 1998, Canada Post created a stamp in his honour. Bennett died on February 23, 1979 in Kelowna.

During the Battle of Saipan in 1944, a Japanese fighter plane is shot down.
Nagasaki, Japan - 20 minutes after the atomic bombing.
In  1940, this is the sky over London after a bombing and a dogfight between German and British air planes.
The last known photo of the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger, taken in 1933.

I would like to thank the Canadian Encylopedia website and Wikipedia for the information on W.A.C. Bennett. The strange thing is that for our longest serving premier, there wasn't a lot of information on him.

This long series of entries on B.C. premiers is starting to wind down. There are only ten left to feature.

Thanks to my mom and her friend, Wes, for the old photos.

I hope you find the beauty around you.
William Andrew Cecil Bennett

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  1. Good post. Enjoyed the pictures as well.

    1. Thank you Lee. I appreciate your support. More old photos on Friday.