John Howatt Bell

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John Howatt Bell
14th Premier of Prince Edward Island
In office
September 9, 1919 – September 5, 1923
MonarchGeorge V
Lieutenant GovernorMurdoch McKinnon
Preceded byAubin-Edmond Arsenault
Succeeded byJames D. Stewart
Leader of the Prince Edward Island Liberal Party
In office
July 13, 1915 – July 26, 1923
Preceded byJohn Richards
Succeeded byAlbert Charles Saunders
Member of the General Assembly of Prince Edward Island for 4th Prince
In office
June 30, 1886 – December 13, 1893
Serving with George W. Bentley
Preceded byAugustus Holland
Succeeded bydistrict abolished
MLA (Assemblyman) for 4th Prince
In office
December 13, 1893 – May 14, 1898
Preceded byhimself
Succeeded bySamuel E. Reid
In office
September 16, 1915 – July 26, 1923
Preceded byJames Kennedy
Succeeded byWhitefield Bentley
Member of Parliament
for East Prince
In office
December 14, 1898 – November 7, 1900
Preceded byJohn Yeo
Succeeded byAlfred Lefurgey
Personal details
Born(1846-12-13)December 13, 1846
Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island Colony
DiedJanuary 29, 1929(1929-01-29) (aged 82)
Los Angeles, California
Political partyPrince Edward Island Liberal Party
Other political
Helen Howatt
(m. 1882)
ResidenceSummerside, Prince Edward Island
Alma materPrince of Wales College
Albert College
OccupationTeacher and lawyer

John Howatt Bell (December 13, 1846 – January 29, 1929) was a lawyer and politician who served as the 14th premier of Prince Edward Island.

Bell was born in Cape Traverse, the son of Walter Bell and Elizabeth Howatt. He was educated at Prince of Wales College and at Albert College in Belleville. After studying law, he was called to the Ontario bar in 1874 and set up practice in Ottawa, Ontario. He moved to Manitoba, was called to the bar there and set up practice in Emerson. In 1882, he married his first cousin, Helen, the daughter of Cornelius Howatt. He returned to Prince Edward Island, was called to the bar, and set up practice in Summerside.

Bell entered politics in 1886 when he was elected to the province's legislative assembly as a Liberal. In 1898 he won a seat in the House of Commons of Canada as a supporter of the federal Liberals under Sir Wilfrid Laurier. He lost his seat in 1900 but returned to the provincial assembly in 1915 when he was chosen to lead the Liberal Party and became leader of the opposition. After Bell led the Liberals to power in 1919, he became Premier. His government extended the province's road system and adopted a highway improvement policy funded by a tax that contributed to the government's unpopularity. His administration also extended the voting franchise to women in 1922.

Bell's government was ridden with disputes within his cabinet, which harmed the party's unity and popularity and led to his government's electoral defeat in 1923 after a single term in office. Bell retired from politics and died six years later in a car accident in Los Angeles, California.

External links[edit]

  • "John Howatt Bell". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.
  • John Howatt Bell – Parliament of Canada biography
  • Premiers Gallery, Prince Edward Island