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John Howatt Bell


In office
September 9, 1919 – September 5, 1923
Preceded by Aubin-Edmond Arsenault
Succeeded by James D. Stewart

Born December 13, 1846(1846-12-13)
Cape Traverse, Prince Edward Island
Died January 29, 1929 (aged 82)
Los Angeles, California
Political party Liberal

John Howatt Bell (December 13, 1846 – January 29, 1929) was a Prince Edward Island lawyer and politician.

He was born in Cape Traverse, the son of Walter Bell and Elizabeth Howatt, and was educated at Prince of Wales College and at Albert College in Belleville. He studied law, was called to the Ontario bar in 1874 and set up practice in Ottawa. 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 Canadian House of Commons 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. Bell led the Liberals to power in 1919 and became Premier. His government extended the province's road system and adopted a "highway improvement policy" through an unpopular 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.

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Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
John Yeo
Member of Parliament from East Prince
1898–1900
Succeeded by
Alfred Alexander Lefurgey
Political offices
Preceded by
Aubin-Edmond Arsenault
Premier of Prince Edward Island
1919–1923
Succeeded by
James David Stewart
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