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Alone at the Top
The Path to Power
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Richard Bedford Bennett.


The desperate plea of a penniless farmer's wife

September 28, 1933

Dear Prime Minister R. B. Bennett,

It is with a very humble heart I take the opportunity of writing this letter to you, to ask you if you will please send for the underwear in the Eatons' order, made out and enclosed in this letter. My husband will be 64 in December and his neuritis is very bad. We have had very few crops for the last three years, not enough at all to pay taxes and live, and this year's crops are a complete failure. My husband is drawing wood on the wagon for 34 miles. It takes two days for a trip and he has to sleep out under the wagon. It is cold and windy. I am writing this in the hope that you will send for this underwear for him, as we have no money ourselves. I have patched and darned his old underwear for the last two years, but they are completely worn out. We have never asked for anything of anybody before. If I can only get this underwear for my husband, I can manage for myself, as I can stay in the house over the winter.....

Prime Minister R. B. Bennett was a very wealthy man who had never experienced poverty. Canada, like the rest of [the] world, was in the midst of a devastating depression, which neither he nor any other politician could solve. He was inundated with letters from destitute Canadians pleading for help.

Source: Canada's Prime Ministers, 1867 - 1994: Biographies and Anecdotes. [Ottawa]: National Archives of Canada, [1994]. 40 p.

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