It was on this date in 1958 that Canadian parliamentarians first heard directly from an African leader.
Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana to independence from the United Kingdom the year before, delivered an address to a joint-session of our Parliament.
Two years later, in 1960, he would be elected President of Ghana. Nkrumah, one of the strongest early voices for pan-African unity, would remain in office until 1966 when he was deposed in a coup while traveling outside his country. It would be more than 30 years before another African leader would address Canada’s Parliament, with the great Nelson Mandela doing so in 1990.
Arthur Milnes is an accomplished public historian and award-winning journalist. He was research assistant on The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney’s best-selling Memoirs and also served as a speechwriter to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and as a Fellow of the Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy under the leadership of Tom Axworthy. A resident of Kingston, Ontario, Milnes serves as the in-house historian at the 175 year-old Frontenac Club Hotel.