Walter Edward Foster

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Walter Edward Foster
Walter Edward Foster.jpg
The Honourable Walter Edward Foster, PC
17th Premier of New Brunswick
In office
April 4, 1917 – February 1, 1923
Monarch George V
Lieutenant Governor Josiah Wood
Gilbert White Ganong
William Pugsley
Preceded by James A. Murray
Succeeded by Peter J. Veniot
MLA for Victoria
In office
April 23, 1917 – October 9, 1920
Serving with John F. Tweeddale
Preceded by James Burgess
Succeeded by George W. Warnock
MLA for Saint John County
In office
October 9, 1920 – February 1, 1923
Serving with Robert T. Hayes, William E. Scully, William F. Roberts
Preceded by John R. Campbell
Succeeded by Leonard P.D. Tilley
Senator for Saint John, New Brunswick
In office
December 6, 1928 – November 14, 1947
Appointed by Mackenzie King
Personal details
Born (1873-04-09)April 9, 1873
St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada
Died November 14, 1947(1947-11-14) (aged 74)
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Johanna M. Vassie (m. 1903)
Children Walter William Vassie Foster
Occupation businessman
Profession politician

Walter Edward Foster, PC (April 9, 1873 – November 14, 1947) was a Canadian politician and businessman in New Brunswick.

Foster was born in St. Martins, New Brunswick. He began work as a clerk with the Bank of New Brunswick at Saint John. He joined the merchant firm of Vassie and Company and became vice president and managing director after marrying Johanna Vassie, daughter of the firm's head. Active in community business affairs, Foster served as President of the Saint John Board of Trade in 1908–1909.

In 1916, Walter Foster became leader of the province's Liberal Party which swept to victory in the 1917 election. Foster was defeated in the Saint John County riding in the 1917 election but was elected to the Legislative Assembly by acclamation in a by-election later that year in Victoria County. Though leader at age 45, he was called the "boy premier" for his youthful, cleancut appearance (Doyle). His government established the first department of health in 1918, gave women the right to vote in 1919 and created the province's power commission in 1920.

Walter Foster resigned from provincial politics on February 1, 1923 in order to return to put his own failing personal finances in order. He entered federal politics becoming Secretary of State of Canada in 1925, but failed to win a seat in that year's federal election, or again in the 1926 federal election.

In 1928, Walter Foster was appointed by Prime Minister Mackenzie King to the Canadian Senate and served as Speaker of the Canadian Senate from 1936 to 1940. He died in office in Saint John at the age of 74 and was buried in the Cedar Hill Cemetery.[citation needed]

His son, Walter William Vassie Foster, served in the provincial Legislative Assembly.


Further reading[edit]

  • Arthur T. Doyle, Front Benches and Back Rooms: A story of corruption, muckraking, raw partisanship and political intrigue in New Brunswick, Toronto: Green Tree Publishing, 1976.