George William Ross

George William Ross

Infobox President
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, Upper Canada
death_date = death date and age |1914|03|07|1841|09|18
death_place = Toronto, Ontario
order = 5th Premier of Ontario
term_start = October 20, 1899
term_end = February 8, 1905
predecessor = Arthur Sturgis Hardy
successor = James Whitney
party = Ontario Liberal Party
spouse = Christina Campbell
Catherine Boston
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 Ontario from 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 Commons as 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 Mowat in 1883. He oversaw the construction of over 300 libraries, the expansion of the kindergarten system, and the creation of the School of Pedagogy for the training of school inspectors and masters. Ross increased grants to the education system, and oversaw the expansion of the university system 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 school system, while the Catholic minority agitated for the same high schools and other facilities that the public (Protestant) school system enjoyed. The Protestant Protective Association was formed by Orangemen in 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 Gamey engulfed the government, and demands for prohibition split 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. Whitney won 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.

References

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###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
title=Member of Parliament for Middlesex West
before=Angus Peter McDonald
after=Donald Mackenzie Cameron
years=1872-1883
succession box
title=MLA for Middlesex West
before=John Watterworth
after=John Campbell Elliott
years=1883-1908
succession box
title=Premier of Ontario
before=Arthur S. Hardy
after=Sir James P. Whitney
years=1899-1905
succession box
title=Treasurer of Ontario
before=Richard Harcourt
after=Arthur Matheson
years=1899-1905
succession box
title=Ontario Liberal leaders
before=Arthur S. Hardy
after=George P. Graham
years=1899-1907


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