Historic poster of Canada’s only prime minister from New Brunswick unveiled at R.B. Bennett Commemorative Centre
Against the backdrop of calls for more recognition of Canada’s only prime minister born in New Brunswick, a campaign poster promoting Richard Bedford Bennett was unveiled at the R.B. Bennett Commemorative Centre, located on the grounds of the Albert County Museum in Hopewell Cape.
It’s believed to be one-of-a-kind, and it’s a poster with an interesting backstory.
Bennett, Canada’s 11th prime minister, was elected in 1930 and was campaigning for the 1935 election when all but this particular poster, donated to the museum by Basil Atwood, was destroyed before being distributed. The poster’s destruction was because the Conservatives wanted to promote the party, not Bennett in particular.
“By this time, because of the economy, because of the depression, everyone basically blamed Bennett, even though…it was out of his control,” said Stuart Liptay, president of the Albert County Historical Society
Bill Herridge is the nephew of R.B. Bennett. The 86-year-old made the trip to New Brunswick from Toronto for the unveiling, and though he admits Bennett led the country at a difficult time, he believes the former prime minister should be given his due. “If Sir John A. Macdonald, who we commemorate today, put Canada together, R.B. is the man who held the country together during the terrible years of the Great Depression,” Herridge said
A bust of Bennett rests at the museum. It was made by Robin Hanson who also crafted a bronze statue of Bennett in Ottawa, inspired by a man he views as one of our greatest Canadians who shouldered great criticism during those tough economic times. “He was the rebel that looked after Canada,” Hanson said.
“Everyone maybe was heavy against him, but he stood for what was right and correct.”
Outside of the R.B. Bennett Commemorative Centre, officials said nothing in New Brunswick bears Bennett’s name — and that, they said, should change.
“We don’t have an airport named after him, not even a school, and really there should be a movement to put him on there,” said Dan Ross, manager and curator of the Albert County Museum.
“It’s a matter of historical respect.”
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