Premier Christy Clark says Bill Bennett was an “iconic” leader who will be remembered as one of B.C.’s greatest and most influential premiers.
Clark, who is the MLA for Westside-Kelowna, an area that was part of the then large South Okanagan riding that Bennett represented during his 13 years in the B.C. Legislature, issued a statement Friday following news of Bennett’s death at the age of 83.
Bennett served as Social Credit premeir from 1975 to 1986. He was the son of the province’s longest serving primer, W.A.C. Bennett, who headed the B.C. government from 1952 to 1973.
Bill Bennett’s son, Brad, was considered an instrumental and influential advisor to Clark in her come-from-behind election victory in 2013, leading her B.C. Liberals to a surprise victory.
Clark statement on the death of Bill Bennett reads:
“As the son of one of British Columbia’s most iconic leaders, Bill Bennett not only emerged from his father’s shadow – he built his own legacy. He will be remembered as one of our greatest and most influential leaders.
“It started with a natural, commanding presence like few others – the kind of person people couldn’t help but notice when he entered the room. Throughout his career, he made an impression on people as a humble man, who believed in public service as a calling. What made him stand out was his focus, commitment to fiscal discipline, and vision for B.C.’s future.
“Perhaps no other Premier did more to modernize our province. He brought the SkyTrain, Canada Place and BC Place to Vancouver, began the Coquihalla Highway project, and expanded our mining and hydro industries. It was only fitting that one of his final acts as Premier was to open Expo 86 – inviting the world to our shores, and welcoming them to the best place on Earth.
“As great as his accomplishments were, he took even more pride in his greatest legacy – his family. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.
“For any and all British Columbians who wish to pay tribute to one of our most influential sons, details will be forthcoming in the near future.”