Manitoba Historical Society
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Calvin Murray Sinclair

Lawyer, judge, Senator, community activist.

Born on 24 January 1951, son of Henry Sinclair and Florence Mason, he graduated from the Selkirk Collegiate Institute then attended the University of Manitoba. He worked as an administrator and youth worker at the Selkirk Friendship Centre, was elected Vice-President of the Manitoba Metis Federation for the Interlake Region (1971), and was Executive Assistant to Howard Pawley (1972-1975).

He returned to the University of Manitoba in 1975, studying sociology, history, and law, and graduated in 1979. Called to the Manitoba Bar in 1980, he practiced civil, criminal litigation, and Indigenous law. In 1988, he was appointed Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court, the first Indigenous judge in the province, and served with Alvin Chown Hamilton as Commissioners on an Aboriginal Justice Inquiry that, in 1991, submitted a report on the deaths of Helen Betty Osborne and John Joseph Harper. He was later a Puisne Judge on the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench (2001-2016), during which time he was Chair of the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2009-2015). Following his retirement from the bench, he was appointed to the Canadian Senate (2016-2021), after which he became Chancellor of Queen's University.

In recognition of his community service, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), was given honorary doctorates by the University of Manitoba (2002) and University of Winnipeg (2011) and he was inducted into the Order of Canada (2022) and Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame (2022).

Sources:

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 September 2022

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