Following up on a 2013 vote in Queens Park to make January 21 Lincoln Alexander Day, the politicians of Parliament Hill have decided to follow suit with their own pronouncement. The former Member of Parliament, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, and Chancellor of the University of Guelph passed away a little over two years ago now, and while he may not rank a national holiday (yet?), it's still some quality recognition for a great man.
As reported in the Guelph Mercury, there was a third reading of the bill to proclaim Lincoln Alexander Day this past Wednesday in the House, it passed 275-0 and will next be up for Royal Assent, making the whole thing official, on Tuesday December 9. The move federally will follow that of the Ontario government, which declared Lincoln Alexander Day every January 21, Alexander's birthday, in November 2013.
Alexander was MP for Hamilton West from 1968-1980, and then served as Ontario lieutenant-governor from 1985 to 1991 before taking up his position at the U of G. He was the first black MP and the first black cabinet minister in Canadian history, and was the longest serving chancellor in U of Guelph history. He died at the age of 90.
"I could cry tears of joy," said Alexander's wife Marni. "It has taken two years, but it was worth the wait. First Ontario wide, now Canada wide.
"This will open so many doors for kids and adults who feel challenged and fear," she said. "Lincoln's motto was, 'I did. You can. You will.' That and 'Stay in school.'"
"The whole point was to celebrate the life of an incredible Hamiltonian," added Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale MP David Sweet, who steered the bill through the House. "We finally get a chance to do that not just in our community, but across the country."