50+ African Cdn Public Figures working for Canada

By Andrew Cardozo and Anne Clarke, Pearson Centre


The Black Contributors to political life

As we close on Black History Month we felt it was a good time to reflect on the significant history that Black Canadian women and men and Canadians of African heritage have played in the political life of Canada.  This is a list of some 50+ who have played and continue to play an honourable role in the well being of all Canadians.  This list includes most but not necessarily all Black Canadians, and does not include the many others who have run for public office and not been elected.  There are of course many others who contribute to public life in other roles including the public service and the judiciary.   This is an opportunity for us to be well informed about the contribution that Black Canadians make and understand what more can happen going forward.

National and Federal Politics

  • Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada and Director General of La francophonie
  • Lincoln Alexander, MP, first elected in 1968; Ontario Lieutenant Governor appointed in 1985
  • Dr. Hedy Fry, MP and Minister first elected in 1993, Liberal
  • Dr. Jean Augustine, MP and Minister, first elected in 1993, Liberal
  • Dr. Howard McCurdy, MP first elected in 1984, Candidate for NDP leadership
  • Rosemary Brown, Candidate for federal NDP leadership and MLA in BC
  • Vivian Barbeau, MP, first elected in 2006, Bloc Quebecois
  • Tyrone Benskin, MP, first elected 2011, NDP
  • Ahmed Hussen, MP and Minister, first elected 2015, Liberal
  • Greg Fergus, MP, first elected 2015, Liberal
  • Celina Caesar-Chevannes, MP, first elected 2015, Liberal
  • Emanuel Dubourg, first elected 2015, Formally MNA in Quebec, Liberal
  • Frank Baylis, MP, first elected 2015, Liberal
  • Senator Anne Cools, ON
  • Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, NS
  • Senator Marie-Françoise Mégie, QC


Atlantic – Nova Scotia

  • Mayann Francis, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, in 2006
  • Wayne Adams, MLA, First Black Nova Scotian elected in Legislature, 1993
  • Yvonne Attwell, MLA, elected in 1998
  • Gordon Earle, MLA, first elected in 1997, NDP
  • Stephen Gough, MLA, first elected 2013
  • Percy Paris, MLA
  • Tony Ince, MLA and Minister


  • Jean Alfred, MNA (Parti Quebecois, Gatineau, 1976-1981)
  • Maka Kotto, MP, Parti Quebecois
  • Yolande James, Liberal MNA and Minister
  • Dominique Anglade, MNA, Liberal; first elected in 2015, Minister
  • Frantz Benjamin, MNA first elected 2018, Liberal
  • Lionel Carmant, MNA and Minister, first elected 2018, CAQ


  • Leonard Braithwaite, MPP, Liberal first elected 1964
  • Alvin Curling, MPP, Speaker of the Legislature
  • Maryanne Chambers, MPP and Minister, Liberal
  • Zanana Akande, MPP and Minister, NDP; elected in 1990
  • Margaret Best, MPP and Minister, Liberal
  • Mitzi Hunter, MPP and Minister, Liberal
  • Michael Coteau, MPP and Minister, Liberal
  • Granville Anderson, MPP, first elected 2014
  • Jill Andrew, MPP, first elected in 2018, NDP
  • Faisal Hassan, MPP, elected 2018, NDP
  • Laura Mae Lindo, MPP, elected 2018, NDP
  • Kevin Yarde, MPP, elected 2018, NDP
  • Nadine Girault, MPP, elected 2018, NDP

Western Canada

  • Emery Barnes, MLA in BC, Speaker
  • Lindsay Blackett, MLA and Minister, Progressive Conservative, first elected in 2008, Alberta
  • David Sheppard, MLA, elected in 2015, NDP


  • Saint-Firmin Monestime, Mayor of Mattawa, Ontario, 1964
  • James Atebe, Mayor of Mission, BC (and city councillor), first elected 2005
  • Bernadette Clement, Mayor of Cornwall, Ontario, 2018
  • William Peyton Hubbard. City of Toronto Deputy Mayor and Alderman 1894 to 1914
  • Michael Thompson, City Councillor, Toronto, 2003-2018
  • Kami Akapo, City Councillor, Peterborough
  • Stephen Wright, City Councillor, Peterborough
  • Lindell Smith, City Councillor, Halifax, 2018
  • Sharmarke Dubow, City Councillor, Victoria
  • Markus Chambers, City Councillor, Winnipeg
  • Charmaine Williams, City Councillor, Brampton
  • Mohamed Salih, City Councillor, London
  • Arielle Kayabaga, City Councillor, London

Other information in this regard can be found at these sites:

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