Sir John Alexander Macdonald was the dominant creative mind which produced the British North America Act and the union of provinces which became Canada. As the first prime minister of Canada, he oversaw the expansion of the Dominion from sea to sea. His government dominated politics for a half century and set policy goals for future generations of political leaders.
Ann Meekitjuk Hanson, CM, journalist, broadcaster, philanthropist, commissioner of Nunavut (born 22 May 1946 in Qakutut, Northwest Territories). Hanson has spent much of her professional life in the public sector service, furthering the development of Nunavut and its people through her media and philanthropic work.
Pierre Marc Johnson, G.O.Q., professor, politician, premier of Québec in 1985 (born 5 July 1946 in Montréal, QC). Johnson, a Member of the National Assembly and minister in René Lévesque’s Parti Québécois (PQ) as well as a lawyer and doctor, was sworn in as the 24th Premier of Québec on 3 October 1985. Johnson was also leader of the Official Opposition from December 1985 to November 1987, and later worked as a legal adviser, mediator and expert for various international organizations and for the Québec government.
Elsie May Gibbons (née Thacker), first woman elected as mayor of a municipality in Québec (born 23 May 1903 in Ottawa, Ontario; died 28 January 2003 in Shawville, Québec). In 2015 the pioneering role of Gibbons in municipal politics was recognized by the Québec government, and in 2017 the Elsie-Gibbons award was created by the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités.
Paul Okalik, premier of Nunavut 1999–2008, Inuit land claim negotiator, politician, lawyer (born 1964 in Pangnirtung, NT). His accomplishments include contributing to the creation of the Inuit Heritage Trust, the Nunavut Implementation Training Committee and the Nunavut Social Development Council.
Régis Labeaume, mining executive, businessman, politician, 37th mayor of Québec City, 2007- (born 2 May 1956 in Roberval, Québec). During his decade-long leadership of Québec City, Labeaume has attracted businesses and high-profile entertainers to his city, but he has yet to succeed in bringing back a coveted National Hockey League franchise.
Joseph Georges Gilles Claude Lamontagne, O.C., O.Q., air force officer, businessman, mayor of Québec City and lieutenant-governor of Québec (born 17 April 1919 in Montréal, Québec; died 14 June 2016 in Québec City). Gilles Lamontagne was a veteran who was taken prisoner during the Second World War and who went on to have a long and successful political career at both the municipal and federal levels. Mayor of Québec City for some twelve years, Lamontagne contributed to modernizing the city’s infrastructure and governance. The former lieutenant-governor of Québec is also known for his civic engagement, especially with respect to military families.
Sir Samuel Hughes, teacher, journalist, soldier, politician (born at Darlington, Canada W 8 Jan 1853; died at Lindsay, Ont 24 Aug 1921). A Conservative and an enthusiastic supporter of Sir John A. Macdonald's National Policy, Sam Hughes was elected to Parliament for Victoria North in 1892.
Elijah Harper, Oji-Cree politician, consultant, policy analyst (born 3 March 1949 at Red Sucker Lake, MB; died 17 May 2013 in Ottawa, ON). Harper is best known for the role he played in scuttling the Meech Lake Accord, for which he was named the Canadian Press newsmaker of the year for 1990.
The history of Black Canadian voting rights is marked by contrasting shifts. Enslaved during the period 1600–1834, Black persons could not vote. Emancipated, they were entitled to the rights, freedoms and privileges enjoyed by British subjects, including the franchise; however, racial discrimination did at times impede Black Canadians’ right to vote. The rights and freedoms of Black women were further restricted by virtue of their sex.
Mary Irene Parlby, née Marryat, Alberta MLA (1921–35), women’s rights advocate, activist (born 9 January 1868 in London, UK; died 12 July 1965 in Red Deer, AB). Parlby served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Alberta for 14 years and was the first woman in Alberta, and the second in the British Empire, to be appointed to a cabinet position. One of the Famous Five appellants in the Persons Case, Parlby was a compelling advocate for women’s rights. Her career in activism and legislation was especially dedicated to improving the lives of rural women and children. She was the first woman awarded an honorary degree from the University of Alberta.
Bernard Landry, GOQ, lawyer, politician, premier of Québec 2001–03 (born 9 March 1937 in Saint-Jacques de Montcalm, Québec). A Cabinet minister in the governments of René Lévesque, Pierre-Marc Johnson, Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard, Bernard Landry was influential in shaping Québec’s economic, trade and financial sectors. The 28th premier of Québec (from 2001 to 2003), Landry signed the Agreement Respecting a New Relationship Between the Cree Nation and the Government of Quebec, supported the Kyoto Protocol and made Québec’s economy a top priority. Following a vote of confidence, he stepped down as leader of the Parti Québécois in June 2005 and returned to university-level teaching.
Matthew Coon Come, Grand Chief of the James Bay Cree Nation of Iiyuuschee/Cree Regional Authority (1987-1999, 2009–), National Chief of AFN (2000-2003); activist, environmentalist (born in 1956 near Mistissini, Québec). Matthew Coon Come was elected Grand Chief of the James Bay Cree Nation five times, and served one term as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. He achieved national and international fame through his successful opposition to the James Bay hydroelectric project in the 1990s, his assertion of Cree self-determination in relation to Québec separatism, and his advocacy for Aboriginal self-determination across the world.
Buffalo Child Long Lance, writer, actor, impostor (born Sylvester Long at Winston-Salem, North Carolina on 1 December 1890; died in Arcadia, California on 20 March 1932). Of mixed Indigenous and white (and possibly black) ancestry, he was able to escape the segregated southern US because he looked "Indian."