Thomas Alexander Crerar

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Thomas Alexander Crerar (born on June 17 1876 in Canada) is a Canadian politician, currently member of the leading Liberal Party.

Early Life

Thomas Alexander Crerar was born at Molesworth, Ontario, on June 17 1876. The family soon moved west to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, where Crerar was educated. After a stint of teaching in small rural schools, he turned to wheat farming and eventually to grain buying. In 1907 Crerar became president of the Grain Growers Grain Company, a farmers' organization that had been established to fight the railway monopolies and the Eastern-controlled elevator companies. The Grain Growers quickly established a position of power, and Crerar, who was president until 1929, acquired a reputation as an articulate spokesman for the Western point of view.

Political Career

Inevitably, he was drawn into politics: although he had no experience as an elected official, he was appointed as Minister of Agriculture in Sir Robert Borden's Union government on October 12 1917, to provide a show of national unity during the Weltkrieg. He was then easily elected to the Canadian House of Commons for Marquette in the election of 1917. However, on June 6 1919 Crerar resigned from his position in protest against the high tariff policies of the Conservative-dominated government. He was strongly in favour of free trade with the United States, which would have benefited the western farmers.

In 1921 Crerar led the newly formed Progressive party to the polls in the general election. The Progressives were a loose coalition of provincial farmers' groups, divided in aims and ideology. Despite their success in the 1921 election (where they won 58 seats in the House of Commons), Crerar did not find it easy trying to shepherd his party through the intricacies of parliamentary procedure, for most of his followers distrusted all political parties, including their own. He resigned as leader in 1922; the party hung on for a few years, but its strength was broken.

Crerar spent some time in the private sector before returning to politics in 1929, as a member of King's Liberal Party. Although once again not holding a seat in parliament, he was appointed as Minister of Railways and Canals on December 30 1929 and won a by-election on February 5, 1930. However, King's government was defeated in the 1930 federal election and Crerar lost his seat in parliament.

Crerar returned to parliamente in the 1935 election and he was once again appointed to King's cabinet, serving as Minister of Immigration and Colonization and Minister of the Interior.

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