Canada has lost one of its heroes.
According to reports, Lincoln Alexander, Canada's first black member of Parliament and former Ontario lieutenant governor has passed away at the age of 90.
Alexander's career was full of firsts: he was Canada's first black MP; he was Canada's first black federal cabinet minister as labour minister in the short lived Joe Clark government in 1979; and he was Ontario's first black lieutenant governor and the first black person to be appoint to a vice-regal position in Canada.
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Reaction to his death has been swift with many referring to him as a "great" Canadian.
Current Lieutenant governor Lt.-Gov. David Onley issued a statement noting that Alexander broke through barriers.
"At a time when racism was endemic in Canadian society, he broke through barriers that treated visible minorities as second-class citizens, strangers in their own land," he said according to the Canadian Press.
"Lincoln Alexander's whole life was a rebuke to those who would equate ability with skin colour. He overcame poverty and prejudice to scale the professional and political highs."
Lincoln Alexander dies
Several politicians also took to Twitter to offer their condolences and thoughts about his life:
Saddened to hear of passing of Hon. Lincoln Alexander, fmr Lt Governor, PC MP & Minister, inspirational leader, Hamilton's greatest citizen — Tim Hudak (@timhudak) October 19, 2012
So sad about Linc. Ontario and Canada have lost a great public servant.Arlene and I have also lost a personal friend.One of a kind. — Bob Rae (@bobraeMP) October 19, 2012
It's been said that in Canada, we don't celebrate our history, our heroes or our trailblazers the way other countries do.
Lincoln Alexander is one that deserves to be celebrated.
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