Lincoln MacCauley Alexander, CC, QC, OOnt, lawyer, parliamentarian, public servant, lieutenant-governor of Ontario (born 21 January 1922 in Toronto, ON; died 19 October 2012 in Hamilton, ON). Alexander was the first Black Canadian Member of Parliament, cabinet minister and lieutenant-governor (Ontario).
Marion Meadmore (née Ironquill), OC, Ojibwe-Cree, first Indigenous female lawyer in Canada, newspaper editor, community activist, founder and co-founder of national and Prairie Indigenous organizations (born in 1936 on the Peepeekisis reserve near Balcarres, SK.) She helped create the National Indian Council and co-founded the National Indigenous Council of Elders and the Indigenous Bar Association of Canada.
Violet Pauline King Henry, lawyer (born 18 October 1929 in Calgary, AB; died 30 March 1982 in New York, NY). King was the descendant of Black settlers from the United States. Her life consisted of several important milestones. She was the first Black person to obtain a law degree in Alberta, the first Black person admitted to the Alberta Bar and the first Black female lawyer in Canada. She was also the first woman appointed to an executive position with the YMCA in the United States.
Beverley McLachlin, PC, Chief Justice of Canada 2000–2017, lawyer and jurist (born 7 September 1943 in Pincher Creek, AB). Born into a rural Alberta farming family of modest means, McLachlin rose to become the first female chief justice of a Commonwealth high court and the longest serving chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. In June 2017, McLachlin announced she would retire from the bench on 15 December 2017, nine months before mandatory retirement at age 75.
Elizabeth Wettlaufer is a former nurse who murdered eight elderly patients and attempted to harm six others in southwestern Ontario between 2007 and 2016. One of the most prolific serial killers in Canadian history, she was sentenced to life in prison for the murders in 2017. The case prompted widespread public outrage and made headlines internationally. It later resulted in lawsuits against Wettlaufer, and the nursing homes she worked for, and a sweeping provincial inquiry into flaws in Ontario’s long-term care system.
Gilbert McMicken, businessman, politician, magistrate, police commissioner (born 13 October 1813 in Glenluce, Wigtonshire, Scotland; died 6 March 1891 in Winnipeg, MB). McMicken was head of the Western Frontier Constabulary, Canada’s first secret service, which was established in 1864 in response to the American Civil War. He was also the first commissioner of the Dominion Police, Canada’s first federal police body and forerunner of the RCMP, which was instituted in 1868 following the assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee. McMicken served in municipal government in Niagara, in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada (1858–61) and in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
Omar Khadr is a Toronto-born Canadian, captured by American soldiers after a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002, when he was 15 years old. The only minor since the Second World War to be convicted of purported war crimes, Khadr was imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay and Canada for almost 13 years in total. In 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Khadr’s detainment violated “the principles of fundamental justice” and “the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of youth suspects.” Despite repeated attempts by the Canadian government to keep him in prison, Khadr was released on bail in May 2015. In July 2017, he received $10.5 million in compensation from the government for Canada’s role in violating his constitutional rights.
Victor Michael Melnikoff, lawyer, dance gala impresario (born at Shanghai, China 10 Feb 1944, died at Montréal 6 April 2010). Victor Melnikoff was the second of 3 sons born to Mikhail Melnikoff and Faina Rubin, Russian émigrés in Shanghai, where Mikhail operated a photography studio.
Paul L'Anglais, producer (b at Québec 22 Oct 1907; d at Montréal 23 May 1982). A lawyer by training, he entered the world of radio in 1932 as a producer and director and worked there until 1957. He excelled in radio drama, radio plays and variety shows and had some 300 programs to his credit.
William Miner, Bill, outlaw, first train robber in Canada (b at Bowling Green, KY circa 1847; d at Covington, GA 2 Sept 1913). Known as the "Gentleman Bandit" because of his good manners during holdups, Bill Miner achieved notoriety for numerous stagecoach and train robberies in the American West.
Jean Drapeau, CC, GOQ, lawyer, politician, mayor of Montréal 1954¬–57 and 1960–86 (born 18 February 1916 in Montréal, Québec; died 12 August 1999 in Montréal). Jean Drapeau’s longevity as a politician was such that during his 29 years as mayor of Montréal, seven prime ministers and nine Québec premiers took office. He gave Montréal its largest piece of urban transit infrastructure, the Montréal metro, and two of its greatest moments: a 1967 World Exposition celebrating Canada’s centennial that drew 50 million visitors, and the 1976 Olympic Summer Games. However, he also presided over the decline of Montréal as Canada’s business capital and largest city.
Pacifique “Pax” Plante, lawyer and police officer (born 15 July 1907 in Montréal, QC; died 9 August 1976 in Guadalajara, Mexico). Plante became famous for his war on organized crime and corruption in Montreal in the 1940s and 1950s, and is especially known for his contribution to the Caron Inquiry on public morality.
Nigel S. Wright, lawyer, businessman, chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper 2010–14 (born 18 May 1963, in Hamilton, ON). In 2010, Nigel Wright took a leave of absence from his role as managing director at Onex, a private equity firm, to become chief of staff to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). He was a key figure in the Harper government, and a prominent witness at the fraud and bribery trial of Senator Mike Duffy. After resigning as chief of staff in 2014, he returned to Onex.
Augustin-Norbert Morin, editor, lawyer, judge, politician, Patriote (born 13 October 1803 in Saint-Michel, Lower Canada; died 27 July 1865, Sainte-Adèle-de-Terrebonne, Canada East). Augustin-Norbert Morin studied law before he became one of the most important members of the Patriote movement; he founded La Minerve, drafted the 92 Resolutions, and acted as Louis-Joseph Papineau’s lieutenant in Québec City. After the rebellion, he was one of La Fontaine’s Reformers and on two occasions, first with Francis Hincks and then Allan Napier MacNab, led the government of the Province of Canada. Between 1859 and his death in 1865, he worked on the creation of the 1866 Civil Code of Lower Canada.