“Today, Ontarians and Canadians all across the country celebrate the life and legacy of the Honourable Lincoln MacCauley Alexander.
“Ninety-six years after his birth, and more than five years following his passing, we remain inspired by a life marked by sacrifice, challenge, and triumph over adversity.
“Lincoln began his lifetime of service to country when he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942, in the midst of WWII. Despite the sacrifice this represented, he still experienced the bigotry and discrimination we fought to overcome in the decades since.
“But these experiences never deterred Lincoln, and he would go on to blaze a trail that would inspire generations of Canadians to come.
“In 1968, Lincoln made history when became Canada’s first African Canadian member of Parliament, serving as the Progressive Conservative member for Hamilton West. In 1978 he again made history when he became the first African Canadian member of Cabinet as Minister of Labour in Joe Clark’s Progressive Conservative government. Lincoln’s life of service continued when he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in 1985—another first in Canadian history.
“Throughout his inspirational journey, Lincoln never lost sight of where he came from or ever wavered in his fight for equality. He championed education, and envisioned it as the key to opportunity. But there are still many elements of his vision that remain unfulfilled.
“Too many of our young people are denied every opportunity for success because of where they live or what they look like. There are still too many corners of our province where our youth have lost hope for the future. We owe it to them and to the memory of heroes like Lincoln Alexander to restore this hope and the promise that Ontario is a place where opportunity exists for people of all walks of life.
“As we prepare to celebrate the contributions of Canadians of African descent throughout Black History Month, let us never forget all that Lincoln Alexander means to the African Canadian experience, to Canada, and to all the lives he touched through his character and service.”