Thomas Greenway (1838-1908) was born in England and came to Upper Canada in 1846. He became a merchant, but developed an interest in politics. In 1875 he won the seat for the federal constituency of South Huron for the Conservatives but he became a Liberal the following year because he opposed the protectionist economic policy of the Conservatives. In 1879 Greenway led a group of settlers to Manitoba, where he became involved in land speculation. In 1879 Greenway was elected to the Legislative Assembly, where he supported provincial control of natural resources and objected to federal disallowance of Manitoba railway legislation. Greenway found a great deal of support for his strong defence of provincial rights and in 1888 he formed Manitoba’s first Liberal government. He was to be premier of Manitoba until 1900. During those years he ended the CPR monopoly and brought the Northern Pacific Railway into Manitoba in order to introduce competition in freight rates. But the issue that is most associated with his government was the establishment of a non-denominational school system and the ensuing conflict over minority rights.