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Ellen Fairclough

Ellen Louks Fairclough, politician (born on 28 January 1905 in Hamilton, Ontario; died 13 November 2004 in Hamilton). A chartered accountant by profession, she became secretary of state and Canada's first woman federal cabinet minister in John Diefenbaker’s 1957 Conservative government. She was instrumental as head of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration in pushing for less racist immigration policies. She also pushed for granting Status Indians the right to vote (see Indigenous Suffrage.)

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Stephen Harper

Stephen Joseph Harper, CCPCprime minister of Canada 2006–15, politician, author, economist (born 30 April 1959 in Toronto, ON). Stephen Harper is Canada’s longest-serving Conservative prime minister since Sir John A. Macdonald. He helped found the Reform Party and served as head of the National Citizens Coalition and leader of the Canadian Alliance Party. He then transformed the country’s political landscape by uniting the previously divided right into the Conservative Party of Canada. He led the CPC to three consecutive election wins before being defeated in 2015 and resigning as party leader. Harper’s adherence to a brand of ideologically pure conservatism resulted in what the Globe and Mail called “Canada’s first ever truly Conservative government.” He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in December 2019.

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Sir George-Étienne Cartier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier, co-premier of the Province of Canada, lawyer, railway promoter, politician (born 6 September 1814 in Saint-Antoine, Lower Canada; died 20 May 1873 in London, England). Sir George-Étienne Cartier dominated the politics of Quebec for a generation. After rebelling against the government in the Rebellions of 1837–38, Cartier served as Canada’s first minister of militia and defence. Arguably the kingpin of Confederation, he was responsible for bringing French Canada, Manitoba and British Columbia into the Dominion. He also negotiated the purchase of Rupert’s Land and the North-West Territories from the Hudson’s Bay Company. He is considered a Father of Confederation.

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Barbara Hanley

Barbara McCallum Hanley (née Smith), teacher, politician, Canada’s first female mayor (born 2 March 1882 in Magnetawan, ON; died 26 January 1959 in Sudbury, ON). Hanley was elected mayor of Webbwood on 6 January 1936, becoming the country’s first female mayor. Trained as a teacher, she decided to enter municipal politics in an attempt to improve conditions for the town, which had been hard hit by the Great Depression. Hanley won annual re-election campaigns from 1936 to 1943, and retired as mayor in 1944. A true servant of the public, she sat on many boards and committees throughout her life, including the town ration board during the Second World War.

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Bill Davis

William Grenville Davis, PC, CC, OOnt, lawyer, politician, premier of Ontario 1971–85 (born 30 July 1929 in at Brampton, ON; died 8 August 2021 in Brampton). Known as “Brampton Billy” and as Ontario’s “education premier,” Bill Davis served as minister of education from 1962 to 1971 and as premier from 1971 to 1985. His government established Ontario’s system of community colleges; founded several universities and colleges, including the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE); and created public education broadcaster TVOntario. Davis also created the first environment ministry in Canada and played a key role in the patriation of Canada’s constitution.

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Denis Coderre

Denis Coderre, politician, federal cabinet minister, mayor of Montreal 2013–17 (born 25 July 1963 in Joliette, QC). A federal politician for 16 years, Coderre moved into municipal politics and was elected mayor of Montreal in November 2013. Although credited with cleaning up the city’s administration, Coderre lost the November 2017 election to Valérie Plante, becoming the first Montreal mayor in 57 years to lose after only one term.

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Ed Schreyer

Edward Richard Schreyer, PC, CC, CMM, teacher, politician, diplomat, premier of Manitoba 1969-1977, governor general of Canada 1979-1984 (born 21 December 1935 in Beausejour, MB). Schreyer was the first New Democrat to form a government anywhere in Canada. He was also the first Manitoban to become governor general. In that post, Schreyer was a strong advocate of bilingualism, the environment and women’s equality, and sought to make Rideau Hall more accessible to Canadians.

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Jack Layton

Jack Layton, educator, politician, and federal New Democratic Party leader, was born at Montréal, 18 July 1950. He was the son of Robert Layton, a former prominent Québec Liberal who later became a Conservative MP and cabinet minister.

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John Brant (Ahyonwaeghs)

John Brant (Ahyonwaeghs), Mohawk Grand Chief, Indian Superintendent (b near Brantford, Ont, 27 Sep 1794; d there 27 Aug 1832). John Brant was the son of Joseph Brant, Mohawk chieftain and the first Aboriginal to receive a commission in the British Army, as a captain in 1757.

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John Walter Jones

John Walter Jones, farmer, politician, premier of PEI (b at Pownal, PEI 14 Apr 1878; d at Ottawa 31 Mar 1954). An unsuccessful Progressive candidate in the federal election of 1921, Jones was first elected to the provincial legislature as a Liberal in 1935.

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John Angus MacLean

John Angus MacLean, farmer, politician, premier of PEI 1979-81 (b at Lewes, PEI 15 May 1914). After serving in WWII, MacLean returned to PEI and contested unsuccessfully the federal elections of 1945 and 1948.

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John Kenneth McKinnon

John Kenneth McKinnon, commissioner of the YUKON TERRITORY (b at Winnipeg, Man, 20 April 1936). McKinnon, though born and educated in Manitoba, has been a long-time resident of the Yukon. He was first elected to the Yukon Legislative Assembly in 1961 and was re-elected in 1967, 1970, and 1974.

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Henry Bathurst

Henry Bathurst, politician, political figure during the reign of George III and British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies during the War of 1812 (b 22 May 1762; d 27 July 1834, London, Eng). Henry Bathurst was educated at Eton College and matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford.

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Jack Cable

Ivan John (Jack) Cable, lawyer, politician, Commissioner of the YUKON (b at Hamilton, Ont, 17 Aug 1934).

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Christy Clark

Christina Joan “Christy” Clark, 35th premier of British Columbia (2011–2017), radio broadcaster, political staffer (born 29 October 1965 in Burnaby, BC). Clark was a fiscal conservative with a populist flourish, often compared to legendary premier W.A.C. Bennett. She was the first female premier to be re-elected in Canadian history.

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Alison Redford

Alison Redford, QC, 14th premier of Alberta 2011–14, politician, lawyer (born 7 March 1965 in Kitimat, BC). After decades of service in international, federal and provincial politics, Redford was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and acclaimed premier of the province in 2011. She was the first woman to be premier of Alberta and the seventh woman in Canadian history to become the leader of a province or territory.

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Greg Selinger

Gregory Selinger, 21st premier of Manitoba 2009-2016, MLA, city councillor, social worker (born 16 February 1951 in Regina, SK). Manitoba’s economy grew during Selinger’s seven years as premier, but he faced a public backlash over an increase in sales tax and an internal revolt from his party.