On This day 90 Years Ago RB Bennett Became Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada - October 11, 1927

At the first Conservative Party Convention
11 October 1927
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

The Conservative Party of Canada decided to hold a national party convention on October 11, 1927, to choose a new leader and set a new party platform. This would be the first time the Conservatives would hold such a convention.

The Conservative convention was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and there were six candidates at the start. R.B. was one of them. It took two ballots to declare a winner, who needed to receive a majority of the votes. R.B. was that winner. After the results of the second ballot were read, each of the other candidates made their way to the microphone to officially withdraw from the race in the old tradition of making the vote unanimous. Besides selecting a leader, the party also reshaped the planks of its platform and adopted twenty-two resolutions marking the change perceived in the political landscape.

As the leader of the federal Conservative party, R.B. was also now the leader of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition in the House of Commons. He had a huge job ahead of him. He set out to rebuild the party into an efficient political machine that could lead the country.

Introducing the Keynote Speaker at the 6th Annual RB Bennett Day - July 2nd, 2016

This Saturday, July 2nd, is our 6th Annual RB Bennett Day and this year we're celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Bennett becoming 1st Viscount Bennett, of Mickleham, in the County of Surrey and of Calgary and Hopewell, in the Dominion of Canada. We were extremely lucky to get Dr. Christopher McCreery, co-editor of "The Authentic Voice of Canada, R.B. Bennett Speeches in the House of Lords, 1941-1947", to come and talk on RB Bennett. His book on Bennett fits so well with the theme of this years event. So who is Dr. Christopher McCreery? Here is a brief biography. 

Dr. Christopher McCreery (Photo from Wikipedia) 

Dr. Christopher McCreery is the Private Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and the Executive Director of Government House, a position he has held since April of 2009.

One of the Commonwealth’s foremost experts on orders, decorations and medals, Dr. McCreery has served as the advisor to the Federal Government and a number of Provincial and Commonwealth governments on matters related to honours. He has also regularly been consulted on the role of the Crown; reserve powers, protocol and the historical position of the monarchy in Canada.

He holds a doctorate in Canadian political history from Queen’s University, is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, the Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy, is National Historian for St. John Ambulance and is active with a number of other volunteer organizations.

Dr. McCreery’s publications include more than 50 articles and 14 books. In 2010 he was appointed a Member of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen.

You can read more on his Wikipedia entry here. 

Museum to Celebrate 75th Anniversary of Viscount Bennett's Elevation at 6th Annual RB Bennett Day - July 2

 The RB Bennett Commemorative Centre at the Albert County Museum is hosting the 6th annual RB Bennett Day on Saturday, July 2 in celebration of the only Canadian Prime Minister from New Brunswick. Located in Hopewell Cape at 3940 Route 114, just before the famous Hopewell Rocks, activities begin in the morning with the weekly Farmers and Crafters Market and continues with activities planned throughout the day. With the feature presentation at 2pm by noted historian and current Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Dr. Christopher McCreery.

75 years ago on July 23, 1941, Richard Bedford Bennett, Canada's 11th Prime Minister was elevated into the British House of Lords as the 1st Viscount Bennett, of Mickleham, in the County of Surrey and of Calgary and Hopewell, in the Dominion of Canada. In honour of this momentous occasion, Dr. Christopher McCreery, editor of the recently published book “The Authentic Voice of Canada: R.B. Bennett in the House of Lords.” will speak on Bennett.

The Centre will also offer a presentation on Bennett's rise to the peerage, with notable artefacts on hand from Bennett himself, including his gifts to the Garter King at Arms, Sir Gerald W. Wollaston K.C.B., K.C.V.O. a large impressive silver salver and sterling cigarette case. In addition to these the museum will bring to life the elevation ceremony, through a visual media presentation.

Directly following the activities, the annual birthday cake will be served celebrating RB Bennett's 146th Birthday (July 3, 1870).

The Farmer's Market & Breakfast is from 9am-1pm. Family oriented games and activities will be hosted the whole day (9:30am to 4pm). The main presentations will begin at 2pm followed by cake and homemade ice-cream.

The museum will offer free admission during the day to see all the displays and interactive exhibits.

Top 10 Historical Events in Albert County in Review - #7 The Birthplace and Hometown of Canada's 11th Prime Minister RB Bennett


The Seventh Top 10 Historical Event in Albert County was the birth of our 11th Prime Minster RB Bennett. Who just happens to be on our list of the Most Historical People in Albert County, so be sure to take the time to vote for the 10 Most Historical People of Albert County . Vote Here. Now the seventh event in the Top Ten Historical Events in Albert County History 

  1. First European Settlers in 1699. 

  2. The Acadian Expulsion in 1755. Ending 57 years of Acadian colonies in Albert County, this includes the Battle of Petitcodiac, September 4, 1755. 

  3. Arrival of the Steeves family in 1766. 

  4. The founding of the county 1845. 

  5. Development of Commercially Viable Kerosene from Albertite by geologist Abraham Gesner in 1846 which led directly to the petroleum age and the modern world and indirectly to saving all the whales. Thanks Albert County! 

  6. The Saxby Gale of 1869, which brought untold destruction of property and the loss of a number of lives. 

  7. The Birthplace and Hometown of Canada's 11th Prime Minister RB Bennett (b1870), who founded the Bank of Canada, the CBC and numerous other important Canadian Institutions. 


    was Canada’s eleventh Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative government from August 7th, 1930 to October 23rd, 1935, a period of tribulation that encompassed the worst years of the Great Depression.

    Born on July 3rd, 1870 to Henrietta Stiles and Henry Bennett, a ship-building family, R. B. Bennett grew up in Hopewell Cape.  His early education was rudimentary, but his mother instructed him in the classics.  After teaching school for a few years, Bennett graduated from Dalhousie University in 1893 and practiced law in Chatham, New Brunswick for four years before moving to Calgary in what was then the Northwest Territories. 

    He served as Member of the Assembly of the Territories for six years before being elected MLA and Leader of the Opposition (1909-1911) in the new Alberta Legislature.   He was president of the Calgary Power Company (1910-1920) and legal counsel for the Canadian Pacific Railway for many years.   Bennett entered national politics and represented the constituency of Calgary East from 1911 to 1917, then Calgary West from 1925 to 1939.

    R. B. Bennett held many portfolios during his years in government including: Director-General of National Service (1914-1917); Minister of Justice and Attorney General (1921); Minister Without Portfolio (1926); Minister of Finance (1926); Receiver General (1926, 1930-1932); Minister of Mines and Interior and Superintendent of Indian Affairs (1926); Secretary of State for External Affairs and President of the Privy Council (1930-1935).  In 1927 he was elected leader of the Conservative Party.  Bennett was an excellent parliamentarian and debater who strengthened his party leading up to the election of 1930.


    Elected Prime Minister of Canada in 1930 with a strong majority, Bennett campaigned on a platform to provide progressive action to deal with the serious economic situation that would become known as The Great Depression.  As the global economic depression continued to worsen, voters turned to governments for security that the economy could not provide.  Traditional government measures which Bennett advocated, such as supporting the dollar and maintaining tariffs for dealing with deflation and unemployment, proved to be ineffective.  Later, the new federal social welfare measures he introduced, such as early unemployment insurance and public work programs, called the “Bennett New Deal”, showed some early results during the last six months of his term, although they shocked many of his Conservative colleagues at the time.  As the Depression continued amid declining provincial revenues that approached bankruptcy, especially in the West, the federal government had to contribute more to relief costs, further limiting Bennett’s programs through loss of government credit and revenues.  As a result, Bennett faced isolation and major dissent across the country and even within his own party.  The blame and responsibility for The Great Depression was attributed to Bennett personally with the Conservatives losing the election of 1935.

    While Prime Minister of Canada R. B. Bennett created many progressive programs.  He passed the Relief Act (1932); created the Canadian Broadcasting Commission (forerunner of the CBC); the central Bank of Canada (1935); and the Canadian Wheat Board (1935).  In addition, Bennett signed the Statute of Westminster making the Canadian Parliament fully independent in its decisions.


     After suffering political and personal family losses, feeling no longer wanted as their Prime Minister by the people of Canada, and betrayed by his own Party, Bennett reconsidered a suggestion made to him in earlier years by his old friend Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook) and moved to England to live and continue his law practice.  In 1941 R. B. Bennett was made Viscount (of Mickleham, Calgary and Hopewell) and joined the House of Lords.  His health gradually deteriorated until his death at home in Mickelham in 1947.  He was buried there in the ancient churchyard; the only Prime Minister not interred in Canada.  Noted for his strong personality, decisiveness, and dedication to Canada, Bennett was personally generous with his acquired wealth during his lifetime and, by the direction of his estate, remains a benefactor to Canadians.

  8. The Tom Collins Axe Murder Triple Trial which directly lead to Canada's Double Jeopardy laws. Double Jeopardy is a procedural defence that forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges following a legitimate acquittal or conviction.

  9. Winning the Victory Loans Competition of 1919 by raising a greater percentage over their set goal than anywhere else in the Province. The county raised $347600.00 with a goal of $110000.00. That's triple the amount! (in today's dollars that is $6.2 million!).

  10. Founding of Fundy National Park in 1948.

A Shipbuilding Past

The Bennett family came from England in 1635 and settled in the Saybrook Colony, a British colony established at the mouth of the Connecticut River.  Zadack (Zadoc) Bennett left Lyme, Connecticut in 1761 with his wife Mary (Mercy) Hackett and their children to settle in Horton, near present day Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  Their 500 acre land holdings included a town lot, a share of dyke land, and two farm lots.
In 1784 Benjamin Bennett, son of Zadoc Bennett, left his new wife in Horton while he went to Hopewell, New Brunswick, to clear land and build a home for his family.  Unfortunately his wife died in 1788 and therefore she never made the journey to join Benjamin in Hopewell.  In 1800 he married his second wife, Rebecca Stevens, of Harvey.  They had several children together.

Half-Model of a Bennett vessel

Half-Model of a Bennett vessel

Benjamin’s brother, George, was the first Bennett in what is now Albert County to build ships.  The 61 ton Schooner ‘Mary and Eliza’ was launched in May 1818.  Several members of the Bennett family followed in the shipbuilding tradition including Benjamin’s and Rebecca’s son, Nathan Murray Bennett.  Nathan’s first registered vessel was the 75 ton Schooner ‘Hopewell’ that was launched in July 1835.  Nathan’s son, Henry John Bennett, joined the family tradition and launched his first vessel, the 680 ton Barque ‘Enoch Arden’, in June 1867.

Half-Model of a Bennett vessel

Half-Model of a Bennett vessel

In all, there were 44 registered vessels built by the Bennett family.  36 of them were built at the family shipyard in Hopewell Cape, 7 in Hillsborough and one in Harvey.  The Bennett shipyard in Hopewell Cape was well equipped with a large boarding house, moulding copts, a blacksmith shop, barns and stables, and a general store.

Henry Bennett, father of Richard Bedford Bennett, is credited as the builder of the last vessel constructed at the Bennett Shipyard, the 298 ton Brigantine ‘Romola’.  It was launched in December 1874 and marked the end of an era for the Bennett family.