R. B. Bennett
|The Right Honourable
The Viscount Bennett
|11th Prime Minister of Canada|
7 August 1930 – 23 October 1935
|Governor General||Viscount Willingdon
Earl of Bessborough
|Preceded by||W.L. Mackenzie King|
|Succeeded by||W.L. Mackenzie King|
|Born||Richard Bedford Bennett
July 3, 1870
Hopewell Hill, New Brunswick
|Died||June 26, 1947
|Spouse(s)||Single; Never married|
|Alma mater||Dalhousie University|
|Religion||Methodist, then United Church of Canada|
Richard Bedford Bennett, 1st Viscount Bennett, PC KC FRSA (July 3, 1870 – June 26, 1947) was a Canadian lawyer, businessman, politician, and philanthropist. He served as the 11th Prime Minister of Canada from August 7, 1930, to October 23, 1935, during the worst of the Great Depression years. Following his defeat as prime minister, Bennett moved to England, and was elevated to the peerage as Viscount Bennett.
Early life 
R. B. Bennett was born on July 3, 1870, when his mother, Henrietta Stiles, was visiting at her parents' home in Hopewell Hill, New Brunswick, Canada. He grew up nearby at the home of his father, Henry John Bennett, at Hopewell Cape, the shire town of Albert County, then a town of 1,800 people.
His father was descended from English ancestors who had emigrated to Connecticut in the 17th century. His great-great-grandfather Bennett migrated from Connecticut to Nova Scotia c. 1765, before the American Revolution, taking the lands forcibly removed from the deported Acadians during the Great Upheaval.
R. B. Bennett's family was poor, subsisting mainly on the produce of a small farm. His early days inculcated a lifelong habit of thrift. The driving force in his family was his mother. She was a Wesleyan Methodist and passed this faith and the Protestant ethic on to her son. His principle ever after was: work as hard as you can, earn all you can, save all you can, and then give all you can. Bennett's father does not appear to have been a good provider for his family, though the reason is unclear. He operated a general store for a while and tried to develop some gypsum deposits.
The Bennetts had previously been a relatively prosperous family, operating a shipyard in Hopewell Cape, but the change to steam-powered vessels in the mid-19th century meant the gradual winding down of their business. However, the household was a literate one, subscribing to three newspapers.They were strong Conservatives; indeed one of the largest and last ships launched by the Bennett shipyard (in 1869) was the Sir John A. Macdonald.
Educated in the local school, Bennett was a good student, but something of a loner. In addition to his Protestant faith, Bennett grew up with an abiding love of the British Empire, then at its apogee.
Some important friendships 
One day, while Bennett was crossing the Miramichi River on the ferry boat, a well-dressed lad about nine years younger came over to him and struck up a conversation. This was the beginning of an improbable but important friendship with Max Aitken, later the industrialist and British press baron, Lord Beaverbrook. The agnostic Aitken liked to tease the Methodist Bennett, whose fiery temper contrasted with Aitken's ability to turn away wrath with a joke. This friendship would become important to his success later in life, as would his friendship with the Chatham lawyer, Lemuel J. Tweedie, a prominent Conservative politician. He began to study law with Tweedie on weekends and during summer holidays. Another important friendship was with the prominent Shirreff family of Chatham, the father being High Sheriff of Northumberland County for 25 years. The son, Harry, joined the E.B. Eddy Company, a large pulp and paper industrial concern, and was transferred to Halifax. His sister moved there to study nursing, and soon Bennett joined them to study law at Dalhousie University. Their friendship was renewed there, and became crucial to his later life when Jennie Shirreff married the head of the Eddy Company. She later made Bennett the lawyer for her extensive interests.
University, early legal career 
Bennett started at Dalhousie University in 1890, graduating in 1893 with a law degree. He worked his way through with a job as assistant in the library, being recommended by Dr. R. C. Weldon.
He was then a partner in the Chatham law firm of Tweedie and Bennett. Max Aitken (later known as Lord Beaverbrook) was his office boy, while articling as a lawyer, acting as a stringer for the Montreal Gazette, and selling life insurance. Aitken persuaded him to run for alderman in the first Town Council of Chatham, and managed his campaign. Bennett was elected by one vote, and was later furious with Aitken when he heard all the promises he had made on Bennett's behalf.
Moving to Alberta 
Despite his election to the Chatham town council, Bennett's days in the town were numbered. He was ambitious and saw that the small community was too narrow a field for him. He was already negotiating with Sir James Lougheed to move to Calgary and become his law partner. Lougheed was Calgary's richest man and most successful lawyer.
Bennett moved to Alberta in 1897. A lifelong bachelor and teetotaler (although Bennett was known by select associates to occasionally drink alcohol when the press was not around to observe this), he led a rather lonely life in a hotel and later, in a boarding house. For a while a younger brother roomed with him. He ate his noon meal on workdays at the Alberta Hotel. Social life, such as it was, centered on church. There was, however, no scandal attached to his personal life. Bennett worked hard and gradually built up his legal practice. In 1908 he was one of five people appointed to the first Library Board for the city of Calgary and was instrumental in establishing the Calgary Public Library.
In 1910, Bennett became a director of Calgary Power Ltd. (now formally TransAlta Corporation) and just a year later he became President. During his leadership projects completed included the first storage reservoir at Lake Minnewanka, a second transmission line to Calgary and the construction of the Kananaskis Falls hydro station.
Early political career 
He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories in the 1898 general election, representing the riding of West Calgary. He was re-elected to a second term in office in 1902 as an Independent in the Northwest Territories legislature.
In 1905, when Alberta was carved out of the territories and made a province, Bennett became the first leader of the Alberta Conservative Party. In 1909, he won a seat in the provincial legislature, before switching to federal politics.
Elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1911, Bennett returned to the provincial scene to again lead the Alberta Tories in the 1913 provincial election, but kept his federal seat in Ottawa when his Tories failed to take power in the province; such practice was later forbidden.
At age 44, he tried to enlist in the Canadian military once World War I broke out, but was turned down as being medically unfit. In 1916, Bennett was appointed director general of the National Service Board, which was in charge of identifying the number of potential recruits in the country.
While Bennett supported the Conservatives, he opposed Prime Minister Robert Borden's proposal for a Union Government that would include both Conservatives and Liberals, fearing that this would ultimately hurt the Conservative Party. While he campaigned for Conservative candidates in the 1917 federal election he did not stand for re-election himself.
Cabinet minister, Conservative party leader 
Nevertheless, Borden's successor, Arthur Meighen appointed Bennett Minister of Justice in his government, as it headed into the 1921 federal election in which both the government and Bennett were defeated. Bennett won the seat of Calgary West in the 1925 federal election and was returned to government as Minister of Finance in Meighen's short-lived government in 1926. The government was defeated in the 1926 federal election. Meighen stepped down as Tory leader, and Bennett became the party's leader in 1927 at the first Conservative leadership convention.
As Opposition leader, Bennett faced off against the more experienced Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in Commons debates, and took some time to acquire enough experience to hold his own with King. In 1930, King blundered badly when he made overly partisan statements in response to criticism over his handling of the economic downturn, which was hitting Canada very hard. King's worst error was in stating that he "would not give Tory provincial governments a five-cent piece!" This serious mistake, which drew wide press coverage, gave Bennett his needed opening to attack King, which he did successfully in the election campaign which followed.
Prime minister 
Confronting the Depression 
By defeating William Lyon Mackenzie King in the 1930 federal election, he had the misfortune of taking office during the Great Depression. Bennett tried to combat the depression by increasing trade within the British Empire and imposing tariffs for imports from outside the Empire, promising that his measures would blast Canadian exports into world markets. His success was limited however, and his own wealth (often openly displayed) and impersonal style alienated many struggling Canadians.
When his Imperial Preference policy failed to generate the desired result, Bennett's government had no real contingency plan. The party's pro-business and pro-banking inclinations provided little relief to the millions of increasingly desperate and agitated unemployed. Despite the economic crisis, Laissez-faire persisted as the guiding economic principle of Conservative Party ideology. Government relief to the unemployed was considered a disincentive to individual initiative, and was therefore only granted in the most minimal amounts and attached to work programs. An additional concern of the federal government was that large numbers of disaffected unemployed men concentrating in urban centres created a volatile situation. As an "alternative to bloodshed on the streets," the stop-gap solution for unemployment chosen by the Bennett government was to establish military-run and -styled relief camps in remote areas throughout the country, where single unemployed men toiled for twenty cents a day. Any relief beyond this was left to provincial and municipal governments, many of which were either insolvent or on the brink of bankruptcy, and which railed against the inaction of other levels of government. Partisan differences began to sharpen on the question of government intervention in the economy, since lower levels of government were largely in Liberal hands, and protest movements were beginning to send their own parties into the political mainstream, notably the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and William Aberhart's Social Credit Party in Alberta.
Hosts, dominates 1932 Imperial Conference 
Bennett hosted the 1932 Imperial Economic Conference in Ottawa; this was the first time Canada had hosted the meetings. It was attended by the leaders of the independent dominions of the British Empire (which later became the Commonwealth of Nations). Bennett dominated the meetings, which were ultimately unproductive, due to the inability of leaders to agree on policies, mainly to combat the economic woes dominating the world at the time.
A nickname that would stick with Bennett for the remainder of his political career, "Iron Heel Bennett," came from a 1932 speech he gave in Toronto that ironically, if unintentionally, alluded to Jack London's socialist novel:
What do they offer you in exchange for the present order? Socialism, Communism, dictatorship. They are sowing the seeds of unrest everywhere. Right in this city such propaganda is being carried on and in the little out of the way places as well. And we know that throughout Canada this propaganda is being put forward by organizations from foreign lands that seek to destroy our institutions. And we ask that every man and woman put the iron heel of ruthlessness against a thing of that kind.
Reacting to fears of Communist subversion, Bennett invoked the controversial Section 98 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Enacted in the aftermath of the Winnipeg General Strike, Section 98 dispensed with the presumption of innocence in outlawing potential threats to the state: specifically, anyone belonging to an organization that officially advocated the violent overthrow of the government. Even if the accused had never committed an act of violence or personally supported such an action, they could be incarcerated merely for attending meetings of such an organization, publicly speaking in its defense, or distributing its literature. Despite the broad power authorized under Section 98, it targeted specifically the Communist Party of Canada. Eight of the top party leaders, including Tim Buck, were arrested and convicted under Section 98 in 1931. This plan to stamp out communism backfired, however, and proved to be a damaging embarrassment for the government, especially after Buck was the target of an apparent assassination attempt. While confined to his cell during a prison riot, despite not participating in the riot, shots were fired into his cell. When an agit-prop play depicting these events, Eight Men Speak, was suppressed by the Toronto police, a protest meeting was held where activist A.E. Smith repeated the play's allegations, and he was consequently arrested for sedition. This created a storm of public protest, compounded when Buck was called as a witness to the trial and repeated the allegations in open court. Although the remarks were stricken from the record, they still discredited the prosecution's case and Smith was acquitted. As a result, the government's case against Buck lost any credibility, and Buck and his comrades were released early and fêted as heroic champions of civil liberties.
A 2001 book by Quebec nationalist writer Normand Lester, Le Livre noir du Canada anglais (later translated as The Black Book of English Canada) accused Bennett of having a political affiliation with, and of having provided financial support to, fascist Quebec writer Adrien Arcand. This is based on a series of letters sent to Bennett following his election as Prime Minister by Arcand, his colleague Ménard and two Conservative caucus members asking for financial support for Arcand's antsemitic newspaper Le Goglu. The book also claims that in a 1936 letter to Bennett, A. W. Reid, a Conservative organizer, estimated that Conservative Party members gave Arcand a total of $27,000 (the modern equivalent $359,284).
Relief camp protest 
Having survived Section 98, and benefiting from the public sympathy wrought by persecution, Communist Party members set out to organize workers in the relief camps. Camp workers laboured on a variety of infrastructure projects, including such things as municipal airports, roads, and park facilities, along with a number of make-work schemes. Conditions in the camps were abhorrent, not only because of the low pay, but the lack of recreational facilities, isolation from family and friends, poor quality food, and the use of military discipline, which made the camps feel like penal colonies. Communists thus had ample grounds on which to organize camp inmates. The Relief Camp Workers' Union was formed and affiliated with the Workers' Unity League, the trade union umbrella of the Communist Party. Camp workers in BC struck on April 4, 1935, and, after two months of protesting in Vancouver, began the On-to-Ottawa Trek to bring their grievances to Bennett's doorstep. The Prime Minister and his Minister of Justice, Hugh Guthrie, treated the trek as an attempted insurrection, and ordered it to be stopped. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) halted the Trek in Regina on July 1, 1935, by attacking a crowd of 3,000 strikers and their supporters, resulting in two deaths and dozens of injured. All told, Bennett's anti-Communist policy would not bode well for his political career.
Bennett's New Deal 
Following the lead of President Roosevelt's New Deal in the United States, Bennett, under the advice of William Duncan Herridge, who was both Canada's ambassador to the United States the government eventually began to follow the Americans' lead. In a series of five speeches to the nation in January 1935, Bennett introduced a Canadian version of the "New Deal," involving unprecedented public spending and federal intervention in the economy. Progressive income taxation, a minimum wage, a maximum number of working hours per week, unemployment insurance, health insurance, an expanded pension programme, and grants to farmers were all included in the plan.
In one of his addresses to the nation, Bennett said:
"In the last five years great changes have taken place in the world... The old order is gone. We are living in conditions that are new and strange to us. Canada on the dole is like a young and vigorous man in the poorhouse ... If you believe that things should be left as they are, you and I hold contrary and irreconcilable views. I am for reform. And in my mind, reform means government intervention. It means government control and regulation. It means the end of laissez-faire."
Bennett's conversion, however, was seen as too little too late, and he faced criticism that his reforms either went too far, or did not go far enough, including from one of his cabinet ministers H.H. Stevens, who bolted the government to form the Reconstruction Party of Canada. Some of the measures were alleged to have encroached on provincial jurisdictions laid out in Section 92 of the British North America Act. The courts, including the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, agreed and eventually struck down virtually all of Bennett's reforms. However, some of Bennett's initiatives, such as the Bank of Canada, which he founded in 1934, remain in place to this day, and the Canadian Wheat Board, remained in place until 2011 when the government of Stephen Harper abolished it.
Although there was no unity among the motley political groups that constituted Bennett's opposition, a consensus emerged that his handling of the economic crisis was insufficient and inappropriate, even from Conservative quarters. Bennett personally became a symbol of the political failings underscoring the depression. Car owners, for example, who could no longer afford gasoline, had horses pull their vehicles, named them Bennett Buggies. Unity in his own administration suffered, notably by the defection of his Minister of Trade, Henry Herbert Stevens. Stevens left the Conservatives and formed the Reconstruction Party of Canada, after Bennett refused to implement Stevens' plan for drastic economic reform to deal with the economic crisis.
The beneficiary of the overwhelming opposition during Bennett's tenure was the Liberal Party. The Tories were decimated in the October 1935 general election, winning only 40 seats to 173 for Mackenzie King's Liberals. The Tories would not form a majority government again in Canada until 1958. King's government soon implemented its own moderate reforms, including the replacement of relief camps with a scaled down provincial relief project scheme, and the repeal of Section 98. King had earlier outlined his plans with his 1918 book Industry and Economy. Many of King's other reforms continue today, including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the nationalized Bank of Canada, versions of minimum wage, maximum hours of work, pension, and unemployment insurance legislation. Ultimately, Canada pulled out of the depression as a result of government-funded jobs associated with the preparation for and onset of the Second World War.
Coat of arms 
Bennett's Coat of Arms was designed by Alan Beddoe "Argent within two bendlets Gules three maple leaves proper all between two demi-lions rampant couped gules. Crest, a demi-lion Gules grapsing in the dexter paw a battle axe in bend sinister Or and resting the sinister paw on an escallop also Gules. Supporters, Dexter a buffalo, sinister a moose, both proper. Motto, To be Pressed not Oppressed." 
While Bennett was, and is still, often criticized for lack of compassion for the impoverished masses, he stayed up through many nights reading and responding to personal letters from ordinary citizens asking for his help, and often dipped into his personal fortune to send a five-dollar bill to a starving family. The total amount he gave personally is uncertain, although he personally estimated that between the years of 1927-37 he spent well over 2.3 million dollars. Bennett was a controlling owner of the E.B. Eddy match company, which was the largest safety match manufacturer in Canada, and he was one of the richest Canadians at that time. Bennett helped put many poor, struggling young men through university. Relative to the times he lived in, he was likely the wealthiest Canadian to become prime minister.
Bennett worked an exhausting schedule throughout his years as prime minister, often more than 14 hours per day, and dominated his government, usually holding several cabinet posts. He lived in a suite in the Chateau Laurier hotel, a short walk from Parliament Hill. The respected author Bruce Hutchison wrote that had the economic times been more normal, Bennett would likely have been regarded as a good, perhaps great, Canadian prime minister.
Bennett was also a noted talent spotter. He took note of and encouraged the young Lester Pearson in the early 1930s, and appointed Pearson to significant roles on two major government inquiries: the 1931 Royal Commission on Grain Futures, and the 1934 Royal Commission on Price Spreads. Bennett saw that Pearson was recognized with an O.B.E. after he shone in that work, arranged a bonus of $1,800, and invited him to a London conference. Former Prime Minister John Turner, who as a child knew Bennett while he was prime minister, praised Bennett's promotion of Turner's economist mother to the highest civil service post held by a Canadian woman to that time.
Retirement and death 
Bennett retired to Britain in 1938, and, on June 12, 1941, became the first and only former Canadian Prime Minister to be elevated to the peerage as Viscount Bennett, of Mickleham in the County of Surrey and of Calgary and Hopewell in the Dominion of Canada.
He died after suffering a heart attack while taking a bath on June 26, 1947, at Mickleham. He was exactly one week shy of his 77th birthday. He is buried there in St. Michael's Churchyard, Mickleham (the tomb and Government Canada marker outside and steps from the front doors of the chuch). He is the only former Prime Minister not buried in Canada. Unmarried, Bennett was survived by nephews William Herridge, Jr., and Robert Coats and by brother Ronald V. Bennett. The viscountcy became extinct on his death.
Bennett was ranked #12 by a survey of Canadian historians out of the then 20 Prime Ministers of Canada through Jean Chrétien. The results of the survey were included in the book Prime Ministers: Ranking Canada's Leaders by J.L. Granatstein and Norman Hillmer.
Supreme Court appointments 
- Oswald Smith Crocket (September 21, 1932 – April 13, 1943)
- Frank Joseph Hughes (March 17, 1933 – February 13, 1935)
- Sir Lyman Poore Duff (as Chief Justice, (March 17, 1933 – January 2, 1944; appointed a Puisne Justice under Prime Minister Laurier, June 4, 1906)
- Henry Hague Davis (January 31, 1935 – June 30, 1944)
- Patrick Kerwin (July 20, 1935 – February 2, 1963)
Other appointments 
Bennett was the Honorary Colonel of The Calgary Highlanders from the year of their designation as such in 1921 to his death in 1947. He visited the Regiment in England during the war, and always ensured the 1st Battalion had a turkey dinner at Christmas every year they were overseas, including the Christmas of 1944 when the battalion was holding front line positions in the Nijmegen Salient.
Bennett served as the Rector of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario from 1935–1937, even while he was still prime minister. At the time, this role covered mediation for significant disputes between Queen's students and the university administration.
Electoral record 
Northwest Territories (West Calgary) 
|1898 Northwest Territories general election|
|William W. Stuart||205||28.79%|
|March 22, 1901 by-election|
|1902 Northwest Territories general election|
Provincial elections 
|1905 Alberta general election results (Calgary)||Turnout Unknown||Swing|
|Labor||Alex D. Macdonald||407||19.01%||*|
|Rejected, Spoiled and Declined||Records not kept|
|Unknown Eligible Electors|
|Liberal pickup new district||Swing N/A|
|Returning Officer Ruben Askin Janes|
|1909 Alberta general election results (Calgary - 2 elected)||Turnout N/A%||Swing|
|Rejected, Spoiled and Declined||Records not kept|
|Unknown Eligible Electors|
Federal elections 
Alberta (provisional district) 
|Canadian federal election, 1900|
|Canadian federal election, 1911: Calgary|
|Liberal||VAN WART, Isaac Stephen Gerow||4,805|
Calgary West 
|Canadian federal election, 1921|
|Labour||Joseph Tweed Shaw||7,369||45.85|
|Liberal||Edward Faustinus Ryan||1,351||8.41||-18.36|
|Total valid votes||16,073||100.00|
|Canadian federal election, 1925|
|Labour||Joseph Tweed Shaw||6,040||37.06||-8.78|
|Total valid votes||16,296||100.00|
|Canadian federal election, 1926|
|Liberal||Harry William Lunney||6,502||42.08|
|Total valid votes||15,453||100.00|
|Canadian federal election, 1930|
|Liberal||Colin Campbell McLaurin||5,887||29.78||-12.30|
|Total valid votes||19,770||100.00|
|Canadian federal by-election, 25 August 1930|
|On acceptance by the Hon. Richard Bennett of an office of emolument under the Crown, 7 July 1930|
|Canadian federal election, 1935|
|Social Credit||Robert Lincoln Reid||5,817||31.93|
|Liberal||Peter Laurence Hyde||2,130||11.69||-18.08|
|Co-operative Commonwealth||Henry Magee Horricks||686||3.77|
|Reconstruction||Charles Thomas Galbraith||411||2.26|
|Total valid votes||18,216||100.00|
See also 
- Shadow of Heaven: The Life of Lester Pearson, volume 1, 1897-1948, by John English, 1989, Vintage UK, p. 166-171.
- E. Gorosh, Calgary's "Temple of Knowledge": A History of the Public Library. 1975 Century Calgary Publications. p.5.
- Mr. Prime Minister 1867-1964, by Bruce Hutchison, Toronto 1964, Longmans Canada
- Waiser, Bill (2003). All Hell Can't Stop Us: The On-to-Ottawa Trek and Regina Riot. Calgary: Fifth House. p. 37. ISBN 1-894004-88-4.
- Mr. Prime Minister 1867-1964, by Bruce Hutchison, Toronto 1964, Longmans Canada.
- The quote is from: Penner, Norman (1988). Canadian Communism: The Stalin Years and Beyond. Toronto: Methuen. p. 117. ISBN 0-458-81200-5.; the irony of the allusion is noted in Thompson, John Herd; Allan Seager (1985). Canada, 1922-1939: Decades of Discord. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. p. 226. ISBN 0-7710-8564-8.
- Brown, Lorne (1987). When Freedom was Lost: The Unemployed, the Agitator, and the State. Montreal: Black Rose. p. 42. ISBN 0-920057-77-2.
- Lester, Normand (2001) Le Livre noir du Canada anglais; Montreal: Les Éditions des Intouchables, p.255. The letter is conserved at the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa. A photocopy can be found at the archives of the Canadian Jewish Council in Montreal, under P0005 ARCAND, Adrien (collection).
- Bennett's New Deal, The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Blaming the Prime Minister
- R. B. Bennetts New Deal (1935) - Studies on the Canadian Constitution and Canadian Federalism - Quebec History
- Viscount Richard Bedford Bennett's Coat of Arms
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online- http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=7997
- The Authentic Voice of Canada, by Christopher McCreery and Arthur Milnes (editors), McGill - Queen's University Press, Kingston, Ontario, 2009, p. xiv.
- The London Gazette: . 22 July 1941.
- Prime Ministers of Canada: The Rt. Hon. Richard Bedford Bennett
- The Authentic Voice of Canada, by Christopher McCreery and Arthur Milnes (editors), Kingston, Ontario, McGill - Queen's University Press, Centre for the Study of Democracy, 2009, pp. 197-198.
- "North-West Territories: Council and Legislative Assembly, 1876-1905". Saskatchewan Archives. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-09-30.
- "History of Federal Ridings since 1867, Alberta (Provisional District)". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 2007-11-17.
- "Calgary Official Results 1905 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
- "Territories Elections Ordinance; Province of Alberta". Vol VI No. 12 (The Rocky Mountain Echo). October 30, 1905. p. 4.
- "Calgary results 1909 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
Further reading 
- John Boyko; Bennett: The Rebel Who Challenged And Changed A Nation, Toronto, Key Porter Books, 2010, ISBN 1-55470-248-8.
- Christopher McCreery and Arthur Milnes (editors): The Authentic Voice of Canada, Kingston, Ontario, McGill - Queen's University Press, Centre for the Study of Democracy, 2009, ISBN 978-1-55339-275-0. This book is a collection of Bennett's speeches in the British House of Lords from 1941-47.
- Peter Busby Waite; Loner: Three Sketches of the Personal Life and Ideas of R.B. Bennett, 1870-1947, 1992.
- James Henry Grey; R. B. Bennett: The Calgary Years, University of Toronto Press, Toronto and Buffalo, 1991.
- J. R. H. Wilbur; The Bennett New Deal: Fraud or Portent, 1968
- Ernest Watkins; R. B. Bennett: A Biography, 1963.
- Andrew D. Maclean; R. B. Bennett, Prime Minister of Canada, Toronto, Excelsior Publishing Co., 1935.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Richard Bedford Bennett|
- Biography at the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
- Silver and Gold: Bennett and the Great Depression — Historical essay, illustrated with photographs
- R. B. Bennett - Parliament of Canada biography
- R.B. Bennett at Find A Grave