To the editor:
The death of former British Columbia premier Bill Bennett saddened me and I am sure very many British Columbians. We lost not only a a savvy and hard working politician and businessman but a great premier and a good man whose example inspired loyalty from those who knew him and worked with him and respect from his enemies. His contribution to this province in the 10 year period he was premier in the ’70s and ’80s was enormous.
Cut from the same mould as his father and also great former premier W.A.C. Bennett, Bill Bennet knew how to respectfully treat taxpayers’ money. Current Premier Christy Clark said it well: “Perhaps no other premier did more to modernize our province. He brought SkyTrain, Canada Place, and B.C. Place to Vancouver and began the Coquihalla Highway project and expanded our mining and hydro industries.” Bennett gave us Expo ’86 and can be rightly credited for transforming Vancouver into a world-class city. Former NDP cabinet minister Moe Sihota credits Bennett for putting British Columbia on the world stage.
Bennett was also considered an architect of financial restraint in the province and a signatory to Canada’s constitution. He guided B.C. through the turbulent early ’80s with a controversial restraint program fought by unions which organized the so-called Operational Solidarity movement, but Bennett prevailed and a general strike was averted.
Both father and son served this province well for 30 years. I consider myself fortunate to have grown up in B.C. during their era. Much of the current prosperity we all enjoy as British Columbians we owe to the Bennetts and so it is with a mixture of both gratitude and sadness we all feel our loss.
Gerald Hall, Parksville