Item AAAB2511 - W.A.C. Bennett interview : [Mitchell, 1976-1978 : part 2]

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W.A.C. Bennett interview : [Mitchell, 1976-1978 : part 2]

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  • 1977 [date recorded] (Creation)

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CALL NUMBER: T1675:0021 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Social Credit and economic development in British Columbia, 1952-1972 PERIOD COVERED: 1952-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-06-16 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: W.A.C. Bennett discusses the administration of public finances in British Columbia during the years he served as Premier. Economic conditions in B.C. when Social Credit came to power, 1952. A;necdote about meeting an old trapper in the Peace River country. Bennett's plan for developing British Columbia. John de Wolf and reaction to the takeover of B.C. Electric. Bennett's belief in making ;the capitalist system work for the people. Politics as the only real science. TRACK 2: Comments on the nature of the British Columbia economy. The roles of resource industries and tourism in the econ;omy. The lack of secondary industry in B.C. British Columbia's place in the world economy. Story about a trip to the Iron Curtain. Attitude toward the United States and the issue of continentalism in ;North America. Cooperation with the federal government on various projects. The Columbia River Treaty. Economic development in B.C. as a consequence of post-war prosperity. Populism. Problems associat;ed with maintaining Social Credit's hegemony in B.C. under W.A.C. Bennett's leadership.; CALL NUMBER: T1675:0022 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Financial policies of Social Credit in British Columbia, 1952-1960 PERIOD COVERED: 1952-1960 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-06-17 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: W.A.C. Bennett discusses Einar Gunderson's loss of a legislative seat, 1953, and his subsequent role in the government. Assuming the Finance portfolio. Comments on close friends and confidant;s during his early years as Premier. Comments on literature written on the subject of his years in power: Ron Worley's "The Wonderful World of W.A.C. Bennett", Paddy Sherman's "Bennett", Martin Robin';s "Pillars of Profit", Pat McGeer's "Politics in Paradise". Political philosophy. Reduction of the public debt as the keystone of Social Credit policy during the early years of power. TRACK 2: Explan;ation of the process of eliminating the public debt of British Columbia. Debt reduction and its relationship to Socred development policies. Reasons for concentrating on the policy of debt reduction. ;Direct liabilities vs. contingent liabilities. The bond-burning ceremony at Kelowna, August 1, 1959. The development of parity bonds. The genesis of the B.C. homeowner's grant.; CALL NUMBER: T1675:0023 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Government finance and transportation policies of the Socreds PERIOD COVERED: 1952-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-06-18 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: W.A.C. Bennett discusses the budgetary processes of his Social Credit government. Treasury Board and "Little Treasury Board". The budget as an instrument of government policy. Balanced budget; vs. deficit financing. Elimination of nuisance taxes. Political popularity vs. high principles as factors in the formulation of government policy. Budgetary growth and economic development. The advoc;acy of unpopular policies and the defeat of the government in 1972. TRACK 2: Plans for the expansion of the PGE Railway. The role of the railway in Bennett's plan for the development of British Colum;bia's north. Bennett's "Northern Vision". Oil and gas discoveries in B.C.'s Peace River District. Frank McMahon, Westcoast Transmission Company, and Bennett's efforts to build a pipeline in British Co;lumbia. Meeting with presidents of oil companies in Victoria. Establishment of the Toll Bridges and Highway Authority, 1953. The construction and financing of highways in B.C. The background to the es;tablishment of the B.C. Ferries Corporation.; CALL NUMBER: T1675:0024 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Provincial and Federal Social Credit policies in Canada, 1952-1972 PERIOD COVERED: 1952-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-08-16 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: W.A.C. Bennett discusses relations among the B.C. and Alberta Social Credit parties and the federal Social Credit party. Social Credit's ambitions in the federal field in Canada. The contest ;for the leadership of the federal Socreds between Robert Thompson and Real Caouette, 1961. Motivations for Manning's support of Thompson and Bennett's support for Caouette. British Columbia Socreds an;d their support for the federal wing of the party. The Albertan influence on the federal Socreds. Anecdote about the possibility of Ross Thatcher joining Social Credit. TRACK 2: The role of Orvis Ken;nedy within the Alberta Social Credit movement. Evaluation of the leadership of Solon Low. Bennett's lack of interest in becoming directly involved in federal politics after he became Premier. Anecdot;e about a federal Socred meeting at "The Market" in Montreal. Evaluation of Robert Thompson's leadership of the federal Social Credit party. Reasons for Thompson's failure. The effect of the Diefenbak;er 'sweep' on the federal Socreds' fortunes. Reasons why Bennett supported Caouette. Anecdote about addressing a large audience in Caouette's home town of Rouyn, Quebec. Reasons for the lack of succes;s of the Social Credit party in federal politics in Canada.; CALL NUMBER: T1675:0025 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Relations with federal governments in Ottawa, 1952-1968 PERIOD COVERED: 1952-1964 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-08-16 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: W.A.C. Bennett discusses further aspects of his relationship with the federal Social Credit party in Canada. The role of the Social Credit League. The Social Credit party's influence on gover;nment policy. Federal Liberal and Conservative governments were jealous of Social Credit's achievements in British Columbia. Reasons why B.C. did not receive substantial financial aid from Ottawa duri;ng Bennett's years as Premier. Criticism of federal government's "tight money" policies. TRACK 2: Bennett's government cooperated with Ottawa on major projects. No difference in dealing with a Libera;l or Conservative federal administration. Lester Pearson and the Columbia River Treaty. The B.C. government's proposal for a Bank of British Columbia. The Senate Bank Committee Hearings. Anecdote abou;t a meeting with Paul Martin. Reasons why the original proposal for a Bank of B.C. were not successful. The present Bank of British Columbia's indebtedness to Bennett's government.; CALL NUMBER: T1675:0026 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Background to the Sommers Affair PERIOD COVERED: 1930-1960 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-08-17 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: W.A.C. Bennett explains how he acquired his home in Kelowna. The purchase of his hardware store from David Leckie, 1930. Reasons why he did not seek nomination as campaign leader of the Socia;l Credit party for the 1952 election. The background to the Sommers Affair. Bennett hired a private detective to investigate Sommers when he first heard rumours of irregularities. Reasons why Sommers ;had been chosen as a cabinet minister. Sommers one of the Socreds' best debaters. TRACK 2: Bennett comments on Liberal "friends" who leaked information to him. He reads from a public opinion poll com;missioned by the Liberals in 1968 which rates the chances of success of several possible Liberal leaders in B.C., including John Turner. Robert Sommers' personal weaknesses. Gordon Gibson Sr.'s charge;s against Sommers in the legislature and the later by-election in Lillooet. Anecdote about a lively by-election campaign meeting. Bennett does not regret appointing Sommers to the cabinet. Further com;ments on Gordon Gibson Sr. Comments on persuading Chief Justice Sloan to become forestry advisor to the Bennett government. Evaluation of Attorney-General Bonner's handling of the Sommers case.; CALL NUMBER: T1675:0027 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): The Sommers Affair PERIOD COVERED: 1956-1960 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-08-17 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: W.A.C. Bennett discusses further aspects of the Sommers Affair. Asking for Sommers' resignation from the cabinet and the appointment of new ministers. All-night sittings of the legislature. T;he calling of elections. The election of 1956. The effect of the Sommers Affair on the outcome of the election. Bennett's battle with the newspapers. Views on the press. Reasons for the Social Credit ;victory in the 1956 election. Further comments on Sommers, the court case and the Attorney-General's handling of it. TRACK 2: Reaction to the Sommers case. The impact of the Sommers Affair on the Soc;ial Credit government. Comments on possible dissension within Socred ranks. The handling of forest management licences by the Bennett government. Comments on the outcome of the Sommers case. Further c;omments on Robert Bonner's handling of the Sommers Affair. Loyalty as a possible weakness of W.A.C. Bennett. History will vindicate Sommers.; CALL NUMBER: T1675:0028 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Federal-Provincial relations, 1952-1972 PERIOD COVERED: 1952-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-10 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: W.A.C. Bennett discusses aspects of federal-provincial relations during the years he served as Premier, 1952-1972. Relations between the provinces and the federal government improved during t;he period. Loyalty to a united Canada. Enjoyed dealing with C.D. Howe in Ottawa. Comparison of the four Prime Ministers Bennett served in conjunction with: St. Laurent, Diefenbaker, Pearson and Trudea;u. TRACK 2: Anecdote about an experience at an official dinner in Paris regarding France's relationship with Canada and Quebec. Discussion of further aspects of federal-provincial relations while ser;ving as Premier of B.C. Response to references in the memoirs of former Prime Ministers Diefenbaker and Pearson. W.A.C. Bennett's style of politics. Comments about Pierre Trudeau's stewardship of the ;federal government. The incident of Trudeau referring to Bennett as "a bigot".; CALL NUMBER: T1675:0029 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): The failure of the Victoria Charter, 1971 PERIOD COVERED: 1965-1972 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1977-10 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: W.A.C. Bennett discusses his attitude towards bilingualism in Canada. Review of the Canadian constitution. The background to the meeting in Victoria in June, 1971, at which the Victoria Chart;er was issued. Reasons for the failure to accept the charter. Quebec's lack of trust in the rest of Canada. Explanation of the formula for amending the Canadian constitution under the Victoria Charter;. Individual rights versus national or regional interests as an issue in federal-provincial relations. Criticisms of a centralized federal system. [TRACK 2: blank.];

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David Mitchell, 1979


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  • Complete transcript on file.
  • Reference cassette copy available in container 000443-094 and -095.

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No access restrictions apply. [WAS: Tapes not to be released to public for a period of ten years without permission of M. Anita Tozer. (Per M.A. Tozer, 1979-04-12.) Expired, 1989-04-12.]

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  • Copying Restriction: None.
  • Use Restriction: Undetermined.
  • Copyright Status: Undetermined.

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Accession number(s): T1675

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speaker: William Andrew Cecil Bennett, interviewer: David Joseph Mitchell

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