R. B. Bennett

11th Prime Minister of Canada (1870-1947)

Richard Bedford Bennett, 1st Viscount Bennett, (July 3, 1870 – June 26, 1947), was a Canadian lawyer, businessman, philanthropist, and politician who served as the 11th prime minister of Canada from 1930 to 1935.After suffering from a landslide defeat in the 1935 election, Bennett remained leader of the Conservative Party until 1938, when he retired to England. He was created Viscount Bennett, the only Canadian prime minister to be honoured with elevation to the peerage.

R. B. Bennett

Quotes edit

  • I stand for Canada and upon that issue of, Canadians before any other people in the world, I'm prepared to seek suffrage of my fellow men.
    • Comments when remarking on the British preference in the debates on Budget, House of Commons Debates (1930) (Source)
  • A sound partnership is founded on mutuality of interest. Good business is predicted upon reciprocal benefits. This is neither.... There is no true Canadian who would not gladly surrender some personal advantage to help the people of the parent state; Britain however neither needs nor asks for help like that. What she wants is what we want -- broader areas of trade developed through an alliance to which we each bring the powers which have made us what we are. She wants with us a greater empire of the future and for that we Canadians must build a greater Canada. I say now what I have said from youth, that the future of the Empire depends upon the upbuilding of Canada; it depends upon the development of the great resources of Canada. Any sacrifice that we may make of our position whereby we cease to be autonomous in the development of this great state is fraught with the gravest disaster not to us alone but to the Empire of which we form a part. What is good for one is good for both, and what is bad for one cannot avail the other.
    • Speech on the Dunning Budget proposals, House of Commons debates (1930)(Source)
  • The problem of unemployment has now ceased to be a local or provincial one, and it has assumed national proportions and it will be the duty of my Party to see that employment is provided for those of our people who are able to work... 1 will not permit this country with my voice or vote to ever baccate committed to the dole system.
    • Address in Calgary, Alberta (1930)(Source)
  • If there ever was an election conducted by a political party on the basis of wholesale and most unqualified promises and pledges to all classes and description, it was the Election through which we have just passed, and it is as a result of these promises and pledges that the Honourable gentlemen opposite are in office.
    • Address in Calgary, Alberta (1930)(Source)

Great Depression speech (January 1935) edit


  • The time has come when I must speak to you with the utmost frankness about our national affairs, for your understanding of them is essential to your welfare. This is a critical hour in the history of our country. Momentous questions await your decision. Our future course must now be charted. There is one course, I believe with all my heart, which will lead us to security. It is for you to decide whether we will take it. I am confident that your decision will be the right one, when, with care and diligence, you have studied the facts. Then you will support the action which your judgment decrees to be imperative; you will strive for its success, for its success will determine the future of Canada.
  • We are living amidst conditions which are new and strange to us. Your prosperity demands changes in the old system, so that, in these new conditions, that old system may adequately serve you. The right time to bring about these changes has come. Further progress without them is improbable. To understand what changes and corrections should be made, you must first understand the facts of the present situation. To do that, you should have clearly in mind what has taken place in the past five years; the ways in which we have made progress, the ways in which we have not. To do that, to decide wisely, you must be in a position to judge those acts of government which have palliated your hardships, which have preserved intact our industrial and financial structure, and which have prepared the way for the reforms which must now take place.
  • For I am working, and working grimly, to one end only: to get results. And so, honest support from every quarter, from men and women of good will, of every party, race and creed, I hope for and heartily invite.
  • There must be unity of purpose. There can be no success without it. I earnestly entreat you, be in no doubt upon that point. I am not. If I cannot have your wholehearted support, it is wrong for me to assume the terrible responsibility of leadership in these times. I am willing to go on, if you make it possible for me still to serve you. But if there is anyone better able to do so, I shall gladly make way for him. And it is your duty to yourselves to support him, and not me. Your country’s future is at stake. This is no time to indulge your personal prejudices or fancies. Carefully and calmly, look well into the situation, then pick the man and the policy best fitted to deal with it, and resolutely back that man and that policy. The nation should range itself behind them. In war you fought as one; fight now again as one, for the task ahead demands your war-time resolution and your war-time unity.
  • Therefore, now that the time has come, I am determined to try with all my strength to correct the working of the system in Canada so that present unemployment conditions may be put an end to. When I say I will correct the system, I mean that I will reform it, and when the system is reformed and in full operation again, there will be work for all. We then can do away with relief measures; we then can put behind us the danger of the dole. I am against the dole; it mocks our claim to progress. Canada on the dole is like a young and vigorous man in the poorhouse. The dole is a condemnation, final and complete, of our economic system. If we cannot abolish the dole, we should abolish the system.

External links edit

Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: