Ross, Sir George William

 Sir George William Ross, politician, premier of Ontario 1899-1905 (b near Nairn, Ont 18 Sept 1841; d at Toronto 7 Mar 1914). After some years as a teacher, school inspector and journalist, Ross was elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal for W Middlesex. On his defeat in the federal election of 1883, he joined Sir Oliver MOWAT's Ontario Cabinet as minister of education. Ross rationalized and improved the public school system, while grappling with bitter public controversies over language and religion in Roman Catholic separate schools and over the financing of the provincial university at Toronto and the denominational colleges. He succeeded Arthur Sturgis HARDY in the premiership in 1899, but his government was defeated in 1905. After leading the Opposition for 2 years, he accepted appointment to the Senate where he was Liberal leader from 1910 until his death. A noted orator, Ross also published books and pamphlets, including the autobiographical Getting Into Parliament and After (1913).