Robert Bonner (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Robert Bonner
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Cariboo
In office
November 28, 1966 – July 22, 1969
Preceded by William C. Speare
Succeeded by Alex Fraser
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Vancouver-Point Grey
In office
June 9, 1953 – September 12, 1966
Serving with Thomas Audley Bate (1953-1963)
Arthur Laing (1953-1956)
Buda Brown (1956-1962)
Pat McGeer (1962-1966)
Ralph Loffmark (1963-1966)
Preceded by George Clark Miller
Succeeded by Garde Gardom
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Columbia
In office
November 24, 1952 – June 9, 1953
Preceded by Richard Orr Newton
Succeeded by Richard Orr Newton
Personal details
Born (1920-09-10)September 10, 1920
Vancouver, British Columbia
Died August 12, 2005(2005-08-12) (aged 84)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Political party Social Credit
Profession Lawyer

Robert Bonner, LL.B. (September 10, 1920 – August 12, 2005) was a Canadian lawyer, politician, and corporate executive. He pursued his career working in the British Columbia government and in B.C.-based companies.

Bonner was born and raised in Vancouver, and served with the Seaforth Highlanders in Italy in the Second World War. Upon his return to Canada, Bonner took a law degree from the University of British Columbia in 1948, and joined a practice in Vancouver. Active in politics from an early age, Bonner became a supporter and confidant of W.A.C. Bennett, who would go on to lead the Social Credit Party to victory in the 1952 provincial election. To the surprise of many, Bennett appointed the unelected, 32 year-old Bonner as the province's Attorney General — the youngest in B.C.'s history. Bonner would be elected to represent the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey in the provincial election of 1953, which was also the first Social Credit majority government in the province. He would retain the position of Attorney General for the next sixteen years, quickly becoming one of the most powerful ministers and closest advisors to Bennett in the Socreds' long spell of governance.

Bonner's tenure as Attorney General was marked by legal clashes with First Nations tribes over land and resource rights, especially in light of the rapid hydroelectric, mining, and forestry development of the province's hinterland. Perhaps more significantly, from a historical perspective, was the provincial government's conflicts with the Sons Of Freedom, an anti-government sect of Doukhobors resident in the Kootenay region of the province. Clashes over public education led to the apprehension en masse of Freedomite children, and their confinement in government schools.

During his time in cabinet, Bonner also served at various times concurrently as Minister of Education and Minister of Trade and Commerce. In the legislature, Bonner proved capable, serving as Bennett's House Leader. Contemporaries described him as "articulate, urbane, and always well prepared, with a demonstrated air of superiority and a ready laugh."[1]

Bonner left provincial politics in 1968 to become vice-president of MacMillan Bloedel, a Vancouver-based logging and lumber company. He would later go on to become the firm's president and chief executive officer. Bonner left Mac Blo in 1976 to become chairman of BC Hydro, the provincial crown corporation responsible for producing and supplying hydroelectric power. He retired from that position in 1985.

Bonner died in Vancouver in 2005.

Cabinet Positions[edit]

British Columbia Provincial Government of William Andrew Cecil Bennett
Cabinet posts (4)
Predecessor Office Successor
William Kenneth Kiernan Minister of Commercial Transport
March 20, 1964–May 27, 1968
Frank Richter
Ministry Established Minister of Industrial Development, Trade and Commerce
March 28, 1957–March 20, 1964
Ralph Raymond Loffmark
Tilly Rolston Minister of Education
October 19, 1953–April 14, 1954
Ray Williston
Gordon Wismer Attorney General of British Columbia
August 1, 1952–May 27, 1968
Leslie Peterson

References[edit]