Department of Canadian Heritage

Department of Canadian Heritage

January 21, 2017 09:00 ET

Statement by Minister Joly on Lincoln Alexander Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 21, 2017) -

Today we remember Lincoln Alexander, a trailblazing Canadian who overcame racial discrimination and humble roots to become Canada's first Black member of Parliament and cabinet minister.

Born in Toronto in 1922 to immigrants from the Caribbean, Lincoln Alexander was refused his first job after graduating university because of the colour of his skin. Unwavering, he went on to serve Canada in the Second World War and then pursued law at Osgoode Hall. A natural leader, he was elected Member of Parliament for Hamilton West four times and appointed the first Black Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario in 1985.

Throughout his career, Alexander fought prejudice and saw education as the key to overcoming any barrier. Among his many distinctions, Alexander became the longest serving Chancellor at the University of Guelph and was the first Chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.

As Minister of Canadian Heritage, and Minister responsible for multiculturalism, I am honoured to pay tribute to this extraordinary man and the enormous contributions he made to our country.

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Contact Information

  • For more information (media only):
    Pierre-Olivier Herbert
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
    819-997-7788