Former Premier of BC. William Andrew Cecil Bennett, PC, OC (September 6, 1900 - February 23, 1979) was born in Hastings, New Brunswick. He is usually referred to as W.A.C. Bennett, and both affectionately and mockingly by many as Wacky Bennett. At the age of 18, Bennett moved to Edmonton. He later moved to Kelowna and entered the retail hardware business. A successful merchant, he served as President of the Kelowna Board of Trade from 1937 to 1939. He entered provincial politics in the October 21, 1941 provincial election when he was elected as the Conservative member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for South Okanagan. He was re-elected in the 1945 and 1949 provincial elections. After failing in his bid to become leader of what was now the Progressive Conservative Party in 1951, he left the party to sit as an Independent Member. In December of that year, he took out a membership in the Social Credit League. In the 1952 provincial election, the province used an alternative vote system that had been designed to enable the Conservative and Liberal parties to keep the socialist Co-operative Commonwealth Federation out of power. Unexpectedly, this enabled Social Credit to win the largest number of seats with the benefit of second-preference ballots from CCF voters. Social Credit fell short of holding a majority, however. Bennett had succeeded in convincing a Labour Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to support the party, and so the Socreds were able to form a minority government. The party had no leader, however. In a vote of the newly elected caucus, Bennett defeated Philip Gaglardi for the position of party leader and premier-elect on July 15, 1952.
On August 1, he was sworn in as Premier of British Columbia, an office he held for twenty years until 1972. Bennett engineered the defeat of his minority government with a school funding proposal, and forced an election in 1953. Social Credit was re-elected with a clear majority. Alternative voting was not used in BC again. A conservative, he served also as the Minister of Finance, keeping tight control over government spending while leading his province into an era of modernization and prosperity. While the Social Credit party was founded to promote the social credit theories of monetary reform, these could not be implemented at the provincial level, as the Alberta Social Credit Party had learned in the 1930s. Bennett quickly converted the provincial party into one advocating a mix of populism and conservatism, and it became a vehicle for those who sought to keep the CCF out of power. However, he did actively campaign for the Social Credit Party of Canada in federal election campaigns. During the 1957 election, he spoke for the party at a rally in Regina, Saskatchewan. In the 1965 election, Bennett and his cabinet ministers toured BC to encourage voters to elect Social Credit Members of Parliament to promote BC's interests.
Following his party's defeat in the 1972 election by Dave Barrett's revitalized New Democratic Party (the successor to the CCF), he served as Leader of the Opposition until resigning his seat as Member for South Okanagan in June of 1973. His son, Bill, won the South Okanagan by-election in September, and W.A.C. Bennett retired as leader of the Social Credit Party on November 15. William was elected leader of the BC Social Credit Party on November 24, 1973, and in the provincial election of 1975, the Socreds were re-elected with a majority. Bill Bennett became the new Premier of British Columbia. In 1976, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. W.A.C. Bennett died in 1979, and was interred in the Kelowna Municipal Cemetery. In 1998, the Government of Canada honored W.A.C. Bennett with his portrait on a postage stamp of Canada.
Term Source: www.wikipedia.org
Centennial Celebrations, 1958 (Colony of British Columbia)
In 1958, the province of British Columbia celebrated its Centennial. 1858 was the year Governor James Douglas declared the mainland of British Columbia a British colony. This declaration was made at Fort Langley. Langley was therefore at the centre of the 100th anniversary celebrations in 1958. The Fort Langley National Historic Site was reconstructed by the federal government and officially opened in July by Princess Margaret. The Langley Centennial Museum was opened across the street and people in Langley participated in a wide range of commemorative events ranging from beard growing contests to pageants.
Term Source: Sears List of Subject Headings (16th. Ed.)
Fort Langley National Historic Site
The Hudson's Bay Company established Fort Langley in 1827 in present day Derby Reach Regional Park. It was moved upriver to its current site in 1839. The Fort was run as a provisioning station and farm. The Company moved out of the Fort in 1886. From 1888 into the 1920's the Mavis family ran a farm on the land. In the 1920s the Fort was recognized by the federal government's Historic Sites and Monuments Board, though by that time only one building remained. The land was purchased and from 1931 until 1958, the Native Sons operated a museum on the site. In 1955, the Fort was declared a National Historic Site. A few years later more buildings were reconstructed and much of the collection was moved to the Langley Centennial Museum. Today the Fort is run by Parks Canada.
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, was born 21 August 1930. She was the younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and sister of Queen Elizabeth II. She held the title Countess of Snowdon by marriage. Princess Margaret visited Fort Langley on July 22, 1958 as part of a tour of British Columbia to mark the centennial. She officially opened the restored Fort Langley Historic Site and toured the Langley Centennial Museum during her visit. She died on 9 February 2002.