Bachelor of Arts, University Toronto. Bachelor of Laws, Osgoode Hall. Doctor of Laws, McMaster U. Waterloo Lutheran U.
He went on to study law at the University of Toronto and the Osgoode Hall Law School. Upon completion, he practised law in Brantford, Ontario, and served with the 2nd Cycle Corps and 4th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the First World War. In 1921, Macdonald married Muriel Whittaker.
Macdonald sought Liberal Party nomination to run for election to the Canadian House of Commons for the 1926 election, but lost the nomination by a single vote.
Macdonald was elected in the 1935 election. During World World War II, Macdonald was a staunch supporter of conscription.
While serving as Speaker of the House of Commons Macdonald made a famous ruling, banning musical instruments from being played in the Chamber, on June 3, 1950. The ban came about after Daniel McIvor Member of Parliament for Fort William played a flute while waiting for a vote call.
In 1953, Governor General Vincent Massey, on the advice of Prime Minister Louis Saint Laurent, appointed Macdonald to the Canadian Senate, where he became Leader of the Government in the Canadian Senate and a minister without portfolio in the Canadian Cabinet.
From 1954 until the Liberal government"s defeat in the 1957 election, Macdonald served as Solicitor General of Canada. With the defeat of the Liberals, he became Leader of the Opposition in the Canadian Senate, and served again as Government Leader when the Liberals returned to power in 1963. He retired from the Cabinet in 1964.
From 1964 to 1972, he was the second Chancellor of Waterloo Lutheran University.
Governor General Roland Michener, on the advice of Lester Pearson, appointed Macdonald to serve as Lieutenant Governor from 1968 to 1974. In this role, he was involved with many service groups, such as the Canadian Order of Foresters and the Kiwanis Club.
The Ontario School for the Blind in Brantford was renamed the West. Ross Macdonald School in his honour. He died in Toronto in 1976.
William Macdonald was a devoted Freemason initiated on March 17, 1917 at the Doric Lodge Number.
121 in Brantford, Ontario.
Member Canadian House of Commons, 1935-1953, speaker, 1949-1953. Member Canadian Senate, 1953-1967. Served as Lieutenant infantry Canadian Army, World War I. Created Kings’ Counsel, 1934.
Member Royal Canadian Legion (past president Brantford branch), National Council Women (honorary life).
Liberal.; Member United Church of Canada. Mason, Kiwanian (past president).
Official Canadian representative to Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953.
Married Muriel Whitaker, June 15, 1921 (deceased). Children: Esther (Mistress John Marshall), Muriel (Mistress Douglas Haldenby).