New Brunswick

New Brunswickers pushing for R.B. Bennett statue in Ottawa

There’s a push to erect a statue of Prime Minister R.B. Bennett on Parliament Hill.

Bennett was the only prime minister to have been born in New Brunswick

Robin Hanson has created an eight-foot statue of R.B. Bennett. (CBC)

There’s a push to erect a statue of Prime Minister R.B. Bennett on Parliament Hill.

The New Brunswick-born politician was the only New Brunswicker to become prime minister, but 80 years after he left office, there is still no statue of him on Parliament Hill.

Sculpter and painter Robin Hanson has created an eight-foot statue of Bennett, who was the founder of Canadian institutions such as the CBC and the Bank of Canada.

Hanson contacted Noel Kinsella, a Conservative New Brunswick Senator, about the matter. This week, at his retirement ceremony, Kinsella brought up the idea to a room full of Parliament Hill bigwigs.

Bennett was prime minister during the Depression and voters blamed him for not doing enough to stop the bad economic times. He lost the 1935 election in a landslide and a generation of Canadians would associate him with the worst of times.

"My mother now is 93 and she said, ‘What? You're not doing a statue of R.B. Bennett. He's a terrible man!’" said Hanson.

This is the R.B. Bennett statue created by Robin Hanson. (CBC)

Historian David Frank says today the view of Bennett is more balanced, saying that he's been humanized.

“He did have some instincts in addressing the crisis of the 1930s," said Frank.

Bennett is buried in England, making him the only prime minister buried outside Canada. For now, the plaque and museum in his native Albert County will be how Canada pays tribute to him.


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