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Walter Edward Foster

Walter Edward Foster
The Honourable Walter Edward Foster, PC
17th Premier of New Brunswick
In office
April 4, 1917 – February 1, 1923
MonarchGeorge V
Lieutenant GovernorJosiah Wood
Gilbert White Ganong
William Pugsley
Preceded byJames A. Murray
Succeeded byPeter J. Veniot
MLA for Victoria
In office
April 23, 1917 – October 9, 1920
Serving with John F. Tweeddale
Preceded byJames Burgess Jr.
Succeeded byGeorge W. Warnock
MLA for Saint John City
In office
October 9, 1920 – February 1, 1923
Serving with Robert T. Hayes, William E. Scully, W. F. Roberts
Preceded byJohn R. Campbell
Succeeded byLeonard P. D. Tilley
Secretary of State for Canada
In office
September 26, 1925 – November 12, 1925
Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King
Preceded byArthur Bliss Copp
Succeeded byCharles Murphy (Acting)
Speaker of the Senate of Canada
In office
January 11, 1936 – May 8, 1940
Prime MinisterW. L. Mackenzie King
Preceded byPierre-Édouard Blondin
Succeeded byGeorges Parent
Senator for Saint John, New Brunswick
In office
December 6, 1928 – November 14, 1947
Nominated byW. L. Mackenzie King
Appointed byThe Marquess of Willingdon
Personal details
Born(1873-04-09)April 9, 1873
St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada
DiedNovember 14, 1947(1947-11-14) (aged 74)
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Political partyNew Brunswick Liberal Association
Liberal Party of Canada
Johanna M. Vassie
(m. 1903)
ChildrenWalter W. V. Foster

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

Early life

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.

Political career

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.

In 1928, Walter Foster was appointed by Prime Minister Mackenzie King to the Senate of Canada and served as Speaker of the Senate of Canada from 1936 to 1940.

Personal life and death

Foster married Joanna Vassie in 1903. His son, Walter William Vassie Foster, served in the provincial Legislative Assembly.

He died in office in Saint John at the age of 74 and was buried in the Cedar Hill Cemetery.[citation needed]


Further reading

  • 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.
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Walter Edward Foster
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