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.
Stephen Kakfwi, Dene leader, politician, premier of the Northwest Territories 2000–2003 (born 1950 near Fort Good Hope, NT). Kakfwi attended residential schools in Inuvik, Yellowknife and Fort Smith. He achieved national prominence because of his forceful appearance before the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry. In the mid-1970s he argued passionately that the proposed construction of a pipeline across the traditional homeland of the Dene people before the settlement of their land claims would destroy their way of life as well as damage the natural environment of the region.
Stuart Sinclair Garson, lawyer, politician, premier of Manitoba (b at St Catharines, Ont 1 Dec 1898; d at Winnipeg 5 May 1977). After moving to Winnipeg as a child, he attended the Manitoba Law School, was called to the bar in 1919 and practised law at Ashern and Eriksdale, Manitoba, until 1936.
Sir William Fenwick Williams, army officer (b at Annapolis Royal, NS 4 Dec 1800; d at London, Eng 26 July 1883). A British officer on loan to the Turkish army, Williams became a hero in 1855 when he led the determined, though unsuccessful, defence of Kars against Russia during the CRIMEAN WAR.
John Skirving Ewart, lawyer, publicist (b at Toronto, 11 Aug 1849; d at Ottawa 21 Feb 1933). Educated at Upper Canada College and Osgoode Hall, Toronto, Ewart moved to Winnipeg to practise law in 1882. He was counsel for the French-speaking minority in the MANITOBA SCHOOLS dispute, 1890-96.
George Henry Murray, lawyer, politician, premier of Nova Scotia (b at Grand Narrows, NS 7 June 1861; d at Montréal 6 Jan 1929). Murray's unbroken 27 years in power (1896-1923) is a British Empire and Commonwealth record. Leadership of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party fell to Murray when W.S.
Sir John Christian Schultz, businessman, medical practitioner, politician (b at Amherstburg, UC 1 Jan 1840; d at Monterey, Mexico 13 Apr 1896). Schultz settled at the RED RIVER COLONY in 1861. He practised medicine but increasingly occupied himself with furs, retail trade and real estate.
Observing the grim results of industrial capitalism in Canada and Britain, Woodsworth concluded that his church's stress upon personal salvation was wrong. Moving from middle-class pulpits to a city mission, All People's, Winnipeg, he worked with immigrant slum dwellers 1904-13.
Charles Vincent Massey, PC, CC, governor general 1952-59, historian, business executive, politician, diplomat, royal commissioner, patron of the arts (born 20 February 1887 in Toronto; died 30 December 1967 in London, England). Massey was the country’s first Canadian-born governor general. He helped create the Order of Canada in 1967, and as a champion of the arts in Canada laid the groundwork for the Canada Council, the National Library of Canada and the National Arts Centre.
Daniel Roland Michener, PC, CC, OOnt, governor general of Canada 1967-74, lawyer, politician, diplomat (born 19 April 1900 in Lacombe, AB; died 6 August 1991 in Toronto). Michener was the first former MP to become governor general and served during Canada’s centennial year of 1967. He inaugurated the Order of Canada and was a champion of sport and fitness.
Ramon (Ray) John Hnatyshyn, PC, CC, governor general of Canada 1990-95, lawyer, lecturer, politician, (born 16 March 1934 in Saskatoon, SK; died 18 December 2002 in Ottawa). Described as a “man of the people,” the affable Ray Hnatyshyn opened the grounds of Rideau Hall to Canadians and made the office of governor general more genial and approachable than it had been under his predecessor. He called his appointment the greatest honour possible for an “average Canadian.”
Jules Léger, PC, CC, governor general of Canada 1974-1979, journalist, diplomat, (born 4 April 1913 in Saint-Anicet, QC; died 22 November 1980 in Ottawa). As Canadian ambassador to France, Léger won admiration for his deft handling of French president Charles de Gaulle’s controversial “Vive le Québec libre” speech in 1967. Despite suffering a stroke soon after becoming governor general, he encouraged national unity during his term while the country was divided by disputes over Quebec separatism.
Jeanne-Mathilde Sauvé, PC, CC, governor general of Canada 1984-1990, journalist, politician, speaker of the House of Commons (born 26 April 1922 in Prud'homme, Saskatchewan; died 26 January 1993 in Montreal). Sauvé was Canada's first woman to be Speaker of the House of Commons and first woman to serve as governor general.