Alexander James McPhail
Alexander James McPhail, farmer, farm leader, businessman (b near Paisley, Ont 23 Dec 1883; d at Regina 21 Oct 1931). In 1913 McPhail joined the Saskatchewan Dept of Agriculture, but resigned in 1918 out of loyalty to his superior, P.F. Brendt, who had been dismissed because of his German nationality. Returning to Elfros, Saskatchewan, McPhail became a livestock drover, selling mostly on the Winnipeg market. He became an active organizer for the Progressive Party and joined the moderate wing of the Saskatchewan Grain Growers' Association, becoming secretary later that year. McPhail was a leading proponent of the wheat pool movement and was elected first president of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool board in 1924. As president, he faced several difficult issues. He reluctantly carried out the pool's purchase of the elevator system owned by the Saskatchewan Co-operative Elevator Co. He was the principal organizer of the Central Selling Agency, established by the 3 Prairie wheat pools to market grain internationally. A firm believer in voluntary marketing, McPhail campaigned against compulsory marketing, a controversial issue in Saskatchewan during the late 1920s. After the market crash in 1929, the Saskatchewan pool, like the others, avoided bankruptcy only because of government support.