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Article

George Spence

George Spence, homesteader, politician, civil servant (b at Birsey, Orkney I, Scot 25 Oct 1879; d at Regina 4 Mar 1975).

Article

Jeanne Corbin

Jeanne Henriette Corbin, communist activist and union organizer (born in March 1906 in Cellettes, France; died 7 May 1944 in London, Ontario). A member of the Communist Party of Canada and secretary of the Canadian Labour Defense League, she defended the rights of Canadian workers for over 15 years. She gained particular prominence for her role in the lumber workers’ strike in Rouyn, Quebec in 1933.

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Princess Alice Countess of Athlone

Her Royal Highness Princess Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline of Albany, Countess of Athlone, viceregal consort of Canada from 1940 to 1946 (born 25 February 1883 in Berkshire, United Kingdom; died 3 January 1981 in London, United Kingdom). Princess Alice promoted Canadian culture and women’s contributions to the Second World War. She was the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria and the last member of the royal family to serve as viceregal consort of Canada.

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Princess Patricia of Connaught

Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria Patricia Helena Elizabeth of Connaught (born 17 March 1886 in London, United Kingdom; died 12 January 1974 in Windlesham, Surrey, United Kingdom). Patricia resided in Canada from 1911 to 1916 and acted as hostess for her father, the Duke of Connaught, during his term as governor general. She gave her name to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and became honorary colonel-in-chief in 1918. A talented artist inspired by Canadian landscapes, she exhibited her paintings in Canadian art exhibitions, and examples of her work remain part of Canadian collections.

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Edward Stelmach

Edward Stelmach was first elected to the Alberta legislature under the Conservative banner in the 1993 provincial election. He subsequently held various government posts, including those of Deputy Whip and Chief Government Whip, before entering the Cabinet in 1997.

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Alphonse-Télesphore Lépine

Alphonse-Télesphore Lépine, printer, politician and union activist (born 15 May 1855 in Quebec City, QC; died 19 August 1943 in Montreal, QC). Elected in a by-election in the riding of Montreal East in 1888, he became the first working-class independent member of parliament in the House of Commons. In the House, he promoted a program inspired by the Knights of Labor’s declaration of principles. Throughout Lépine’s political career, his supporters did not hesitate to capitalize on his working-class background and were quick to describe him as a true “self-made man” who owed his success to his love of work.

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Tommy Douglas and Eugenics

Tommy Douglas — the father of socialized medicine in Canada and one of the country’s most beloved figures — once supported eugenic policies. In 1933, he received a Master of Arts in sociology from McMaster University for his thesis, “The Problems of the Subnormal Family.” In the thesis, Douglas recommended several eugenic policies, including the sterilization of “mental defectives and those incurably diseased.” His ideas were not unique, as two Canadian provinces (and 32 American states) passed sexual-sterilization legislation in the 1920s and 1930s. However, by the time Douglas became premier of Saskatchewan in 1944, he had abandoned his support for eugenic policies. When Douglas received two reports that recommended legalizing sexual sterilization in the province, he rejected the idea.

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Jim Egan

James Leo (Jim) Egan, gay activist, writer, politician, environmental activist (born 14 September 1921 in Toronto, ON; died 9 March 2000 in Courtenay, BC). Egan was the first person to publish long articles written from a gay point of view in Canada. He was also one of the first openly gay politicians to serve in Canada. Egan is best remembered for a court challenge he and his partner, Jack Nesbit, launched against the spousal allowance benefit under the Old Age Security Act in 1988. In the subsequent Egan v. Canada decision (1995), the Supreme Court read in that sexual orientation is a protected ground of discrimination inthe Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — a monumental finding in support of LGBTQ2 rights in Canada.  

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David Currie, VC

David Vivian Currie, VC, auto mechanic, welder, soldier, House of Commons sergeant-at-arms (born 8 July 1912 in Sutherland, SK; died 24 June 1986 in Ottawa, ON). During the Second World War, Major Currie was the only member of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps to be awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for bravery among troops of the British Empire.

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Harry Daniels

Harry Wilfred Daniels, politician, writer, actor (born 16 September 1940 in Regina Beach, SK; died 6 September 2004 in Regina Beach). Daniels was a celebrated Métis politician and activist who fought for the rights of Métis people. His greatest contribution to Indigenous rights in Canada was the Supreme Court case Daniels v. Canada, which guaranteed that Métis and Non-Status Indians are considered “Indian” under the Constitution Act, 1867.

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Jagmeet Singh

Jagmeet Singh Jimmy Dhaliwal, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada 2017–present, MPP, lawyer (born 2 January 1979 in Scarborough, ON). Singh is the first racialized leader of a major national political party in Canada. He was also the first turban-wearing Sikh elected to the Ontario legislature.

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Hector Fabre

Louis-Roch-Hector Fabre, journalist, newspaper publisher, senator and diplomat (born 9 August 1834 in Montreal, Lower Canada; died 2 September 1910 in Paris, France). Hector Fabre’s appointment to serve as the Agent General of Quebec in Paris in winter 1882 marked one of the first milestones in the history of Quebec representation abroad. Fabre, who also represented the government of Canada starting in July 1882, helped to establish diplomatic and economic relations with France and other European countries and also marked the beginning of permanent Canadian representation abroad.

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Daniel Paul

Daniel Nicholas Paul, CM, Mi’kmaq elder, author, social justice advocate (born 5 December 1938 on Indian Brook Reserve, NS). Paul is the author of We Were Not the Savages, one of Canada’s first history books from an Indigenous perspective. He had long campaigned for the removal of Halifax’s statue to its controversial founder, Edward Cornwallis, until its removal by Halifax's city council in January 2018.

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Fernand Daoust

Fernand Daoust, trade union official (b at Montréal 26 Oct 1926). Between 1969 and 1993, he was successively General Secretary and President of the Québec Federation of Labour (QFL), and a major force and key figure on the Québécois scene.

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Sir Mackenzie Bowell

Mackenzie Bowell, KCMG, editor, publisher, politician and prime minister of Canada 1894–96 (born 27 December 1823 in Rickinghall, Suffolk, England; died 10 December 1917 in Belleville, Ontario). Bowell was a prominent Orangeman and served as Grand Master of the Orange Order in British North America from 1870 to 1878. He was a newspaper editor and publisher before entering federal politics. Bowell represented North Hastings in Canadian Parliament from 1867 to 1892 and was a Conservative senator from 1892 to 1917. He served as Conservative prime minister from 21 December 1894 to 27 April 1896 and was one of only two federal leaders to direct government from the Senate rather than the House of Commons. Pressure from his own Cabinet forced Bowell’s resignation in 1896; he was the only prime minister to suffer that fate. However, he remained a senator until his death.

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John Macdonell

John (Greenfield) Macdonell, lawyer, militia officer, politician (b at Greenfield, Scotland, 19 Apr 1785; d at Queenston, Upper Canada, 14 Oct 1812).

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James Madison

James Madison, career politician, political philosopher, fourth president of the United States (b at King George County, Virginia 16 Mar 1751; d at Orange County, Virginia 28 Jun 1836).

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Fathers of Confederation

Thirty-six men are traditionally regarded as the Fathers of Confederation. They represented the British North American colonies at one or more of the conferences that led to Confederation and the creation of the Dominion of Canada. These meetings included the Charlottetown Conference (September 1864), the Quebec Conference (October 1864) and the London Conference (December 1866 to March 1867). Beyond the original 36 men, the subject of who should be included among the Fathers of Confederation has been a matter of some debate. The definition can be expanded to include those who were instrumental in the creation of Manitoba, bringing British Columbia and Newfoundland into Confederation, and the creation of Nunavut. (See also  Fathers of Confederation: Table.)

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Alexa McDonough

Alexa McDonough, social worker, former Nova Scotia New Democratic Party leader, federal NDP leader (born 11 August 1944 in Ottawa, ON).