Clifford Sifton's political career was characterized by his unconditional defence of Prairie interests. A Western representative in Wilfrid Laurier's Cabinet, he resigned in 1905 to voice his disagreement over the federal government's handling of the schools question in the newly created provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Sifton was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in 1888 and was named attorney general of Manitoba in 1891, a position he held until 1896. Elected to the House of Commons in 1896, he was made minister of the interior and later superintendant of Indian affairs by Prime Minister Laurier. It was under Sifton's guidance that Canada adopted an aggressive immigration policy aimed at populating the West. In order to attract as many settlers as possible, Sifton established colonial offices throughout Britain, as well as in many European countries and in the United States.
After his retirement from politics in 1911, Sifton looked after the Manitoba Free Press, an influential newspaper among Canadian Liberals in the West. He bought this paper in 1891, and owned it until 1921.