A pioneer in the development of western Canada, who later became the agricultural leader of the entire country.
At the age of 22, William Motherwell, a native of Lanark County, Ontario, heeded the call of the west. On that journey he travelled from Brandon, Manitoba, to the homestead on which he settled at Abernethy, Saskatchewan, by ox cart. Upon arrival there he began to participate in community affairs by helping to organize the local school board and the Presbyterian church. In 1901 he was involved in organizing the Territorial Grain Growers’ Association and became its first president the following year.
When Saskatchewan became a province in 1905, he was invited to become the Minister of Agriculture. During his tenure of office, which covered 14 years, he was instrumental in having an agricultural faculty established at the university.
From 1921-29, he served as Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and, in that capacity, played an important role in the establishment of a cereal breeding and rust research laboratory at Winnipeg; the adoption of grade standards for most farm products; and the introduction of the restricted area plan for the eradication of tuberculosis.