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.
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."
Bernard Ostry, public servant (b at Wadena, Sask 10 Jun 1927). After studying history at U of Man, Ostry launched an academic career at the universities of London and Birmingham in England. There, in collaboration with H.S. Ferns, he published The Age of Mackenzie King: The Rise of the Leader (1955; 2nd ed, 1976), a critical and controversial study of the former prime minister.
Mistahimaskwa (Big Bear), Plains Cree chief (born near Fort Carlton, SK; died 17 January 1888 on the Little Pine Reserve, SK). Mistahimaskwa is best known for his refusal to sign Treaty 6 in 1876 and for his band’s involvement in violent conflicts associated with the 1885 North-West Rebellion.
Pierre Karl Péladeau (nicknamed PKP), Canadian entrepreneur and businessman who was instrumental in bringing about the rapid growth of Quebecor (born 16 October 1961 in Montréal, QC). He was the president and chief executive officer of Quebecor for 14 years, from 1999 to 2013. In the Québec provincial election held on 7 April 2014, Péladeau ran as a candidate for the Parti Québécois and won his riding. On 15 May 2015, he became the eighth leader in the history of this political party.
Alan Arnett McLeod, aviator (b at Stonewall, Man 20 Apr 1899; d at Winnipeg 6 Nov 1918). He received the Victoria Cross for heroic action, in which he received 5 wounds, against 8 enemy aircraft. He was injured again rescuing his observer, A.W. Hammond, after their aircraft crashed.