Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{May 4, 2008}   P.M. #11 – The Viscount

OK, now that I’ve winnowed my 3 jobs down to just 1.3 jobs1, I have time again for such things as writing my “weekly” prime ministerial blog entry. Also, I’m in the process of suckering in Sarah, the resident Canadian historian here on NTBTWK, to spice up at least one entry in my P.M. series as a guest co-blogger, as opposed to just adding her comments, which are more informative & insightful than my actual postings, on these postings, as she is wont to do. Everyone tell Sarah how much we love and want to hear her info on Dief, and/or any other PMs, k?

And now, on to the 11th Prime Minister of Canada, The Right Honourable Viscount Richard Bedford Bennett.

RBBennett and sister.jpg

Name Richard Bedford2 Bennett
Born: July 3, 1870 in Hopewell Hill, New Brunswick
Died: June 26, 1947
Party: Conservative
Held Office: August 7, 1930 – October 23, 1935
Best known for: -he was the PM during the Great Depression. Sucks to be him.-he didn’t like Communists.-during the Depression, when people couldn’t afford gas for their cars, they had their cars pulled around by houseshorses. These were referred to as “Bennett Buggies.” With the current price of gas and people’s penchant for SUVs, I’m anticipating the debut of “Harper Hummers” any day now.

-he was filthy, stinking rich, but seemed to have given quite a bit to charity

-in the end, the Depression defeated him (politically)

Some Things I Didn’t Know About This P.M. -he was a high school principal at age 18

-he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories in 1898 (this, mind you, was when the NWT made up much more of the country than it does today); when Alberta was carved out of the NWT to become a province, Bennett became the first leader of the Alberta Conservative Party

-he moved to federal politics in 1911… but led the Alberta Tories in a provincial election in 1913.. but he didn’t win so he just kept his seat in Ottawa instead

-he never married. Why not? According to his biography in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, “phimosis, a tight foreskin that could be very painful at erection.” Also, it is speculated that his penis problems kept him from joining the army, specifically: “a fibrous thickening of the penile shaft creating a distinct bend and at erection discomfort.” I’m not sure why this would keep one from military service, but there you have it.

-he retired to Britain and was made a Viscount, the first and only Canadian PM to do so. Be made a Viscount, I mean. I have no idea if any other PMs retired to Britain.

-he is the only Canadian PM not buried in Canada. Well, of the dad PMs, anyway.

In the Dictionary of Canadian Biography’s online entry about Bennett, I read this amusing quotation: “Bennett was that rare being, a successful Alberta Conservative…”3 Perhaps that was true of the day, but since I know little of Canadian history and am really only familiar with the present context in Alberta, I find it hilarious. Also, funny, is this quotation, which I take out of its context for comedic purposes: “. He was a wizard…”4 Seriously, folks, the Right Honourable Viscount Richard Bedford Bennett was a wizard. You heard it hear first.

If you are just dying to read more about the Viscount5


Um, what are you looking at, Mr. Bennett?

Image credits: From from the Library and Archives Canada, copyright is expired.

1Just to clarify, I haven’t lost any jobs, but rather had a few part-time jobs that had limited lifespans. Contracts, if you will. The 0.3 refers to my best estimates of the job equivalents of wrapping up the last bits of these jobs, if that makes any sense.
2Hey Jen, any relation?
3, paragraph #12
4, paragraph #17
5No relation to The Count

et cetera