moved for leave to introduce Bill C-563, An Act respecting a Lincoln Alexander Day.
Mr. Speaker, Lincoln MacCauley Alexander, one of the most outstanding and accomplished Canadians of our time, was born on January 21, 1922. Rising above the prejudice of the era, he embraced the opportunity of public education. He developed his talents and reached his full potential through disciplined study and the strength of his character.
He served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. Home again after the war, he graduated from McMaster University and Osgoode Hall Law School and qualified as a lawyer.
Responding to the call of public service, he was elected to the House of Commons in 1968, representing Hamilton West. In 1979, he was appointed to be minister of labour, making history as the Government of Canada's first black cabinet minister. Later he served as chair of the worker's compensation board of Ontario, now known as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board; as the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the representative of Her Majesty the Queen; and as chancellor of the University of Guelph, among many other community contributions.
He passed away on October 19, 2012 at the age of 90. His life was an example of service, determination and humility. Always fighting for equal rights for all races in our society and doing so without malice, he changed attitudes and contributed greatly to the inclusiveness and tolerance of Canada today.
I cannot think of a more fitting tribute than to make January 21, the date of his birth, Lincoln Alexander Day in Canada. I am pleased to have the full support of the members for Hamilton Centre and Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, as well as our leader and the entire caucus, for this important bill. I hope we will be able to pass it today.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)