Search for ""
Frank Arthur Calder, OC,
Nisga’a politician, chief, businessman (born 3 August 1915, Nass Harbour, BC; died 4 November 2006 in Victoria,
BC). Frank Calder was the first Indigenous member of the BC legislature, elected in 1949. Calder is best known for his role in the Nisga’a Tribal Council’s Supreme Court case
against the province of British Columbia (commonly known as the Calder
case), which demonstrated that Aboriginal
title (i.e., ownership) to traditional lands exists in modern Canadian law.
Charles de Beauharnois de La Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois
Charles de Beauharnois de La Boische Beauharnois, Marquis de Beauharnois, (baptized 12 October 1671 in La Chaussaye, near Orléans, France; died 12 July 1749 in Paris, France). Beauharnois was a naval officer in the wars of Louis XIV. From 1726 to 1747, he was the governor of New France. He initially built upon Indigenous alliances and defended New France from British incursions. However, the loss of Louisbourg in 1745 and the subsequent deterioration of relationships with Indigenous allies both occurred under Beauharnois and contributed to the eventual conquest of New France.
Harold Cardinal, Cree chief, lawyer, author (born on 27 January 1945 in High Prairie, AB; died on 3 June 2005 in Edmonton, AB). An Indigenous rights activist, Cardinal was a leader in the movement against the 1969 White Paper, which sought to do away with Indian Status and treaty rights. Cardinal was actively involved in Indigenous politics for much of his life and is remembered as a strong and inspirational leader.
Gertrude Guerin (née Ettershank; traditional name Klaw-law-we-leth; also known as “Old War Horse”), chief, politician, community advocate, elder (born 26 March 1917 on the Mission Reserve in North Vancouver, BC; died 25 January 1998). Guerin, born into the Squamish First Nation (see Central Coast Salish), was a fierce protector of Indigenous people and culture. She represented the Musqueam nation locally as an elected chief, and on the national stage in challenges to Canadian jurisdiction over traditional Musqueam territory (see Coast Salish).
John Napier Turner, PC, CC; politician, lawyer, prime minister, athlete (born in Richmond, England, 7 June 1929; died 19 September 2020 in Toronto, ON). John Turner is best known for his early political service as federal justice minister (1968–72) and finance minister (1972–75) in the cabinet of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and for the 1988 election battle with Brian Mulroney over free trade. Turner's 11-week term as prime minister in 1984 is the second shortest in Canadian history, after Sir Charles Tupper (10 weeks).
John Joseph Horgan, 36th premier of British Columbia, 2017–present; political aide (born 7 August 1959 in Victoria, BC). John Horgan worked as a political staffer for BC New Democratic Party (NDP) premiers Mike Harcourt, Glen Clark and Dan Miller. In 2005, he became a member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for the riding of Malahat-Juan de Fuca. He then revitalized the BC NDP after it had spent 16 years on the opposition benches. Following the 2017 election, Horgan engineered a power-sharing coalition with the Green Party to topple a weakened Liberal regime. After Horgan called a snap election in October 2020, the NDP won 53 of 87 seats and Horgan converted his minority government into a governing majority.
Andrew James Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and leader of the Opposition (2017–20), Speaker of the House of Commons, member of Parliament (born 20 May 1979 in Ottawa, ON). Andrew Scheer was first elected as a Member of Parliament when he was 25. He was the youngest Speaker of the House of Commons when elected to that position in 2011 at age 32. Six years later, he became the second leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) since its formation in 2004. Under Scheer, the Conservatives won 121 seats in the 2019 federal election, increasing their presence in the House of Commons. However, they failed to defeat the governing Liberals, who won a minority government. Scheer announced his resignation as leader of the CPC on 12 December 2019.
Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil et de Châteauguay
Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil et de Châteauguay, soldier, seigneur (born 2 August 1626 in Dieppe, France; died February 1685 in Ville-Marie, New France). He is an important figure in the settlement history of Montreal and its surroundings. He was granted the lands that would become the present-day city of Longueuil. His descendants share a long history with New France.
Paul Rose, Québecois indépendantiste leader, terrorist, unionist (born 16 October 1943 in Montreal, Quebec; died 14 March 2013 in Montreal). He was a member of the Chénier Cell, also known as the South Shore Gang, of the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) and a key player in the October Crisis. On 13 March 1971, he was sentenced for the kidnapping and murder of Pierre Laporte, a minister in the government of Quebec.
Henri Bourassa, politician, journalist (born 1 Sept 1868 in Montreal; died 31 Aug 1952 in Montreal). Henri Bourassa was an important Canadian nationalist leader who supported Canada’s increased independence from the British Empire. Bourassa was also an advocate for French Canadian rights within Canada.
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). Irene Parlby served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Alberta for 14 years. She 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. Known as the “Women’s Minister,” her career in activism and legislation was dedicated to improving the lives of rural women and children, such as with Alberta’s Dower Act in 1917. She was also a delegate to the League of Nations in 1930. However, she has also been criticized for her views on eugenics and for her support of Alberta’s Sexual Sterilization Act. She was named a Person of National Historic Significance in 1966 and an honorary senator in 2009.
Irene Parlby and the United Farmers of Alberta
Most Canadians, if they have heard of Irene Parlby, know her as one of the “Famous Five.” This group of five Alberta women were plaintiffs in a court case that argued women were indeed persons under the British North America Act (now the Constitution Act, 1867) and thus entitled to be named to the Senate. It was a landmark case in the long struggle by women to achieve political and legal equality in Canada. But Parlby’s historical significance rests on much more than just the Persons Case.
Robert Bourassa, premier of Québec (1970–1976 and 1985–1994), politician, lawyer, economist (born 14 July 1933 in Montréal, QC; died 2 October 1996 in Montréal).
Eva Aariak, politician, second premier of Nunavut (born 10 January 1955 in Arctic Bay, Northwest Territories [now Nunavut]). Eva Aariak has the distinction of being Nunavut’s first female premier, and she has been instrumental in the promotion of Inuit languages in the territory. (See also Inuktitut and Indigenous Languages in Canada.)
Alfonso Gagliano, politician (born 1942 in Italy; died 12 December 2020). Alfonso Gagliano was the Member of Parliament for the Montreal neighbourhood of Saint-Leonard from 1984 until 2002. Following the 1997 election, he served as Minister of Public Works and Government Services in the cabinet of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. He was also chair of the electoral commission of the Liberal Party in Quebec. Gagliano resigned from cabinet and the House of Commons to accept a position as ambassador to Denmark. He was fired by Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2004 for his role in the sponsorship scandal.
Great Coalition of 1864
The politics of the Province of Canada in the early 1860s were marked by instability and deadlock. The Great Coalition of 1864 proved to be a turning point in Canadian history. It proved remarkably successful in breaking the logjam of central Canadian politics and in helping to create a new country. The coalition united Reformers and Conservatives in the cause of constitutional reform. It paved the way for the Charlottetown Conference and Confederation.
Andrew John Weaver, OBC, FRSC, climate scientist, leader of the BC Green Party 2015–20 (born 16 November 1961 in Victoria, BC). Andrew Weaver is a leading climate change researcher who made historic gains for the Green Party of British Columbia in his second career as a politician. In 2013, he was elected the province’s first Green MLA. In 2017, he led the Greens to three seats. After the 2017 election, he engineered a power-sharing deal with the BC New Democratic Party and toppled the Liberal government of Christy Clark to help John Horgan become premier.