By Gerald V. Paul
Welcome to Lincoln Alexander Day, slated for Jan. 21.
Thanks to the Ontario efforts of Trinidad and Tobago-born MPP Bas Balkissoon and Sen. Don Meredith, whose bill recently received royal assent from Gov.-Gen. General David Johnson, it’s now a national event.
Lincoln, born in Hamilton, was the first Black MP. He represented Hamilton West. Alexander also served as the first Black lieutenant-governor of Ontario and was named to the Order of Canada.
Lincoln Alexander Day, celebrated in Ontario in 2014, is not an official provincial holiday.
“With a firm belief in the virtues of our beloved Canada, coupled with a disciplined work ethic and strength of character, Lincoln Alexander placed the needs of others above his own,” Meredith said.
“He embraced the opportunity of public education and became the master of his own destiny. In so doing he became a role model for all Canadians and immortalized himself as a symbol of hope.”
After retiring from active politics, Alexander went on to serve as chancellor of the University of Guelph and chaired the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, among other community contributions.
Alexander died in October 2012 at 90.