Crerar, Thomas AlexanderThomas Alexander Crerar, businessman, politician (b at Molesworth, Ont 17 June 1876; d at Victoria 11 Apr 1975). He taught school, farmed and managed a Farmers' Elevator Co-op in Manitoba. President-manager of the Grain Growers' Grain Co (United Grain Growers) in Winnipeg 1907-30, he was a Mill-Gladstonian Liberal and agrarian-reform activist, endorsing the Single Tax and Free Trade and farmers' economic ventures, though sceptical of the wheat pools of the 1920s. Appointed minister of agriculture and privy councillor in the UNION GOVERNMENT in 1917, he resigned in 1919 when agrarian discontent heightened. He reluctantly accepted the formation of a farmers' party and became leader of the PROGRESSIVE PARTY in 1920. Though the Progressives won 65 seats in the 1921 election, Crerar refused official opposition status, hoping for an accommodation with the Liberals. Unable to achieve it, he resigned in 1922, and the Progressives fragmented.
Leaving politics in 1925, he resurfaced as minister of railways and canals in 1929 in Prime Minister KING's Cabinet. Defeated in 1930, he returned with the Liberals in 1935 as minister of mines and resources. In 1945 he was appointed to the Senate; he resigned in 1966. His business connections were maintained by various directorships, and he was the first politician to be named Companion of the Order of Canada (1974).