W. R. Motherwell and Agricultural Development in Saskatchewan, 1905-1918
Turner, Allan R
MetadataShow full item record
which did not at some point touch upon rural life. From the period of settlement until very recent times agriculture has been of overwhelming significance in the province and it has produced some outstanding leaders. If one were to look for a "hero" among them probably none would be found whose stature equalled that of William Richard Motherwell. His name has become almost a legend in the province. A stone cairn on the Trans-Canada Highway at Indian Head, an impressive federal building in Regina, a northern lake -- all bear his name. They perpetuate the memory of a man whose career embraced four periods of service to agriculture: (1) Pioneer farmer and leader of a powerful grain growers' organization, 1882-1905; (2) Minister of Agriculture for Saskatchewan, 1905-1918; (3) Minister of Agriculture for Canada, 1921-1930; (4) Private member of the House of Commons, 1930-1940. It is proposed in this thesis to examine Motherwell's contribution to the development of agriculture during his career in provincial politics. It will be shown that he made extensions and innovations in governmental assistance to the industry. He promoted good farming practices through a variety of educational activities. He assisted grain growing through policies which included the development of a hail insurance scheme and active participation in the formation of a co-operative elevator company. He encouraged stock raising through financial assistance and a co-operative system which combined provincial operation with local ownership. He implemented recommendations of several royal commissions during his ministry. During World War I he devoted his energies to the best means of promoting Saskatchewan's contribution to the allied effort. His policies were essentially an application of the principles of conservation, diversification, and co-operation to the creation of a sound agricultural economy. These policies are set forth in Chapters II to VII; Chapter VIII provides an assessment and evaluation of them. It will be seen that this approach excludes consideration of Motherwell's participation in the nonagricultural policies of the government and in such political activities as party organization, electioneering, and handling of patronage. Moreover, it excludes reference to his private life, beyond reviewing (in Chapter I) the early career which led to his selection as Minister of Agriculture and which influenced the nature of the policies he was to pursue.