VIEW-25900 | Mr. Richard B. Bennett, drawing by Mattew, copied for Mr. Bennett, 1935

Mr. Richard B. Bennett, drawing by Mattew, copied for Mr. Bennett, 1935
Wm. Notman & Son
1935, 20th century
Silver salts on film (nitrate) - Gelatin silver process
17 x 12 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Art (2774) , drawing (18379) , Drawing (18637) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

R.B. Bennett (1870-1947) became leader of the federal Conservative party in 1927. In 1930, he led the party to victory by promising to put unemployed Canadians to work and to "blast Canada's way into the markets of the world." (Glassford)

Bennett's government was the most interventionist and the highest-taxing in Canadian peace-time history to that point. Its initiatives included the Bank of Canada, a public broadcasting authority (later called the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), the Canadian Wheat Board and legislation providing for the reduction of farm debts. In its 1935 "New Deal," the government introduced legislation (declared unconstitutional in 1937) governing natural products' marketing and labour relations.

Although the economy was recovering by 1935, the Depression legacy doomed the Bennett government in the election of that year. Having gained 137 seats in 1930, the Conservative party dropped to 40. The Liberals swept back into office.

  • What

    While he was prime minister, Richard Bedford Bennett received many letters begging him for money. A man with a strong Christian conscience, he gave away untold thousands.

  • Where

    This drawing was almost certainly made in Ottawa, where Bennett occupied a suite in the Chateau Laurier Hotel, a few minutes' walk from the main Parliament Building.

  • When

    After Bennett resigned as party leader in 1938 he moved to England, where he died in 1947 as Viscount Bennett of Calgary and Hopewell.

  • Who

    Bennett never married, and for years his beloved younger sister Mildred (1889-1938) acted as hostess for him. Her early death grieved him deeply.