Former B.C. Bill Bennett has died at the age of 83.
He died Thursday night in Kelowna after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years.
He became leader of the B.C. Social Credit Party in 1973, after succeeding his father, former premier W.A.C. Bennett.
In 1975 he was elected premier, retiring undefeated in 1986 after winning again in 1979 and 1983.
He’s known for bringing Expo 86 to Vancouver and the Coquihalla Highway to B.C., and for getting the SkyTrain built.
At the same time, Bennett was known for his cutbacks and clashes with unions, resulting in the protests of 1983 which put the province on the brink of a general strike.
A celebration of life will be held in the new year.
In his obituary, his family say he was known for his “quick wit and great sense of humour.”
Condolences are pouring in.
Premier Christy Clark says in a statement Bennett “will be remembered as one of our greatest and most influential leaders.”
She says what made him stand out was his focus, commitment to fiscal discipline, and vision for B.C.’s future.
Bennett’s former deputy premier, Grace McCarthy says he’ll remembered as one of B.C.’s great chiefs.
“He was very good to work with, he knew where he was going, he had a sense of where the province should be and how we could be successful. He had a very broad vision.”
McCarthy is credited with bringing the idea of Expo 86 to Bennett in late 1979.