William Richards Bennett was born on August 18, 1932, and died on December 3, 2015.
Commonly known as Bill Bennett, he was the 27th Premier of the Canadian province of British Columbia 1975 to 1986.
William was a son of Annie Elizabeth May (Richards) and former Premier, W. A. C. Bennett.
William was a 3rd cousin, twice removed, of R.B. Bennett, eleventh Prime Minister of Canada.
Following his father’s resignation, Bill Bennett was elected on September 7, 1973, as the British Columbia Social Credit League Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for South Okanagan.
His father was also named William, but was usually called “W.A.C.” in the media or “Ceece” by his friends.
To distinguish the son from his father, he was usually called “Bill”. One media term coined to describe the younger Bennett was “Mini-Wac”, which wad derived from another of his father’s nicknames, “Wacky”. The nickname was created by his enemies, but also embraced by some supporters.
Though still reviled by the left, William remains generally highly respected among conservatives in BC, who view his rule as a “golden era” before the corruption of the governments of Bill Vander Zalm and the New Democratic Party that succeeded him.
In his later years, William advised past BC Premier Gordon Campbell, who openly stated his desire to emulate the policies associated with Bennett’s government.
In 2007, William was appointed to the Order of British Columbia, B.C.’s highest award for achievement.
The new replacement bridge across Okanagan Lake in Kelowna is named after him.
William Richards Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease around 2007 and in his later years, lived in a long term care facility.
William passed away on December 3, 2015 at the age of 83.