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Richard Bedford Bennett was born on July 3rd, 1870 in Hopewell New Brunswick. As a boy his ambition was to be a school teacher like his beloved mother and to become Prime Minister. he achieved the first ambition at 18 but after two years decided on law which he studied at Dalhousie University. He was admitted to the New Brunswick bar in 1893.

He settled in Calgary in 1897 with the Lougheed law firm and swiftly won fame and wealth. He was in the territorial legislature before Alberta and Saskatchewan were created in 1905 and then in the Alberta legislature. In 1911 he went to the House of Commons from Calgary and was Borden's right hand man in many critical events until 1917, when he did not seek re-election.

For a few months he was Justice Minister in the first Meighen cabinet but he was defeated by 16 votes by a labour candidate in Calgary West in 1921.

Calgary West returned him in 1925, 26, 30, and 1935. The 1930 election, fought during the first stage of the world economic depression, brought victory to the Conservatives and to Bennett the realization of his boyhood ambition. He set to work fighting the depression in Canada.

He assumed the Finance portfolio for a year, along with that of External Affairs. In 1932, he called the Imperial Economic Conference in Ottawa, when the British preferential system of tariffs was adopted. He also founded the Central Bank. Near the end of his

term, Bennett had all but concluded a reciprocal trade agreement with the United States. Bennett restored the award of titles to Canadians and several received Knighthoods.

The Conservatives suffered humiliating defeat in 1935, winning only 39 seats and Bennett went into opposition. He retired and went to England, bought an estate near Leatherhead, Surrey and was created  Viscount.

Like Mackenzie King, he remained a lifelong bachelor. True to a promise given to his mother, he never tasted intoxicants and never smoked, nor would he work on the Sabbath except under dire necessity. He died suddenly in 1947 and is buried in nearby Mickleham cemetery.




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