Political History of Black Canadians

By: The Hon. Andrew Cardozo

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Beach and waterfront, Vancouver

Hon. Andrew Cardozo: Honourable senators, today it is my honour to talk about an important aspect of Canadian history — Black Canadian political history.

To date, close to 100 Black Canadians have held public office across Canada. I will mention just a few.

I will start with William Peyton Hubbard, the first Black Canadian elected to public office in 1894, who served as alderman and deputy mayor of Toronto City Council.

Since then, in the federal Parliament, Lincoln Alexander has been a Progressive Conservative MP and minister.

Howard McCurdy has been a New Democratic Party MP and sought the leadership of his party.

Jean Augustine has been a Liberal MP and minister.

Frank Baylis and Emmanuel Dubourg have been Liberal MPs from Quebec.

Marci Ien and Ahmed Hussen serve in the current Liberal cabinet.

At the provincial level, Tony Ince served as a Liberal minister in Nova Scotia and Maka Kotto served as an MNA and a minister for the Parti Québécois and as a Bloc Québécois MP before that. Today, Lionel Carmant is serving as an MNA and minister in the Coalition Avenir Québec government. Dominique Anglade served as an MNA, deputy premier of Quebec and the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party.

In Ontario, Zanana Akande was an MPP and minister in the NDP government, and Alvin Curling was a Speaker in the legislature.

In Manitoba, today, Uzoma Asagwara is an MLA and deputy premier in the NDP government.

In Alberta, Kaycee Madu was a United Conservative MLA and deputy premier.

In B.C., Rosemary Brown served as an MLA from the NDP and also sought the leadership of her party at the federal level. Emery Barnes served as Speaker in the legislature of that province.

Municipally, I will point to just a few elected members.

Sharmarke Dubow is a city councillor in Victoria, B.C.; Jibs Abitoye in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta; and Jamaal Myers at Toronto City Hall. Martine Musau Muele, who is a city councillor, is also City Council Chair at Montreal City Council. Lindell Smith is a councillor in Halifax.

I will mention former senators, including senator Anne Cools and Progressive Conservative senator Don Oliver. Of course, currently, we have senators Wanda Thomas Bernard, Sharon Burey, Amina Gerba, Marie-Françoise Mégie, Rosemary Moodie, Paulette Senior and Bernadette Clement, who has served as Mayor of Cornwall.

Honourable senators, this is part of Canadian history. These are colleagues and Canadians who have served Canadians well. Canada is stronger for their service. Thank you.

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