- George William Ross
name = George William Ross
caption = The Hon. Sir George William Ross
birth_date = birth date|1841|9|18|mf=y
birth_place = Nairn in Middlesex County,
death_date = death date and age |1914|03|07|1841|09|18
order = 5th
Premier of Ontario
October 20, 1899
February 8, 1905
Arthur Sturgis Hardy
Ontario Liberal Party
spouse = Christina Campbell
Mildred Margaret Peel
religion = Presbyterian
Sir George William Ross (
September 18 1841– March 7 1914) was an educator and politician in Ontario, Canada. He was premier of Ontariofrom 1899 to 1905.
Born near Nairn, in Middlesex County,
Upper Canada, he worked as a school teacher and school inspector before going into politics. He was first elected to the Canadian House of Commonsas a Liberal in the 1872 election. He was re-elected in the 1874 and 1878 elections. He was initially declared re-elected again in the 1882 election, but his victory was challenged, and the next year the vote was declared void.
Rather than run again, Ross moved to provincial politics when he was offered the position of Minister of Education for Ontario in the Liberal government of Sir
Oliver Mowatin 1883. He oversaw the construction of over 300 libraries, the expansion of the kindergartensystem, and the creation of the School of Pedagogyfor the training of school inspectors and masters. Ross increased grants to the education system, and oversaw the expansion of the universitysystem and the federation of a number of smaller colleges with the University of Toronto.
The Conservative opposition protested against the possibility of increased support for the
Catholic Separate schoolsystem, while the Catholic minority agitated for the same high schools and other facilities that the public (Protestant) school system enjoyed. The Protestant Protective Associationwas formed by Orangemenin the 1890s to oppose the expansion of Catholic rights, and to attempt to exclude Catholics from public life in the province.
After Mowat's retirement as
Premier, and a short interregnum by Arthur S. Hardy, Ross became Premier (and Provincial Treasurer) on October 21, 1899. The Liberal government was tired, however, after almost thirty years in office, and Ross could do little to revive its fortunes. In the provincial election of 1902, the Liberal majority was cut to five seats, but at a time when parties lacked the discipline over their members they would later develop, five seats was not enough for a secure government. A vote-buying scandal based on allegations brought forward by Robert Roswell Gameyengulfed the government, and demands for prohibitionsplit the party. Leading a stagnating and drifting government, Ross called an election for January 25, 1905, in which the Liberals lost twenty-two seats and the Conservatives under James P. Whitneywon sixty-nine, making Whitney the new Premier.
Ross remained Liberal leader until 1907, when he was appointed to the
Canadian Senate. He wrote two books about his life in politics, and died in 1914.
Member of Parliamentfor Middlesex West
Angus Peter McDonald
Donald Mackenzie Cameron
John Campbell Elliott
title=Premier of Ontario
before=Arthur S. Hardy
James P. Whitney
title=Treasurer of Ontario
title=Ontario Liberal leaders
before=Arthur S. Hardy
George P. Graham
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