Senator, Senate of Canada, Ottawa, ON. Born: Wolfville, NS.
The Honourable Donald H. Oliver, Queen’s Counsel, is a lawyer, farmer, businessman, author of a gourmet cookbook, former professor, and Canadian Senator. He has devoted his life to combating racism, prejudice and injustice, and is recognized globally as an expert on diversity.
Senator Oliver has been active in politics with the Progressive Conservative Party (PC, now Conservative Party of Canada CPC) for more than 50 years, including serving as National Director, Legal Affairs in six consecutive general elections (1972-88). He also served in many Executive Offices with the PC Party: as National VP (Atlantic region); Director of the PC Canada Fund and as a member of the Audit Committee of this fund.
In 1990, he was appointed to the Senate of Canada by then Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney. In the Senate, Senator Oliver has served on several committees both as chair and member including: Transport and Communications; Banking, Trade and Commerce; Agriculture and Forestry; Human Rights and National Finance.
Background: Senator Oliver practiced law in Halifax from 1965 to 1990, primarily in civil litigation with Stewart McKelvey Stirling Scales, and taught at Dalhousie University for 14 years, as well as at Saint Mary’s University, and the Technical University of Nova Scotia. He is President of Pleasant River Farms Ltd., Dolin Fisheries Ltd. and Glen Moir Holdings Ltd.; and is Consultant, Advisor and Director of a number of organizations and companies in Nova Scotia and across Canada.
Affiliation: Lifetime Honourary Governor, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Special Advisory Council, Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs; past Governor, Technical University of Nova Scotia; Past Chair, Halifax Children’s Aid Society; Founding Chair, Metro Volunteer Resource Centre; Founding President and first Chair of the Board, Society for the Protection and Preservation of Black Culture of Nova Scotia; Founding Director, Black United Front; Founding Chair, Canadian Association of Visible Minorities; Patron, National Council of the Black Educators Association; Committee Chair, African Diaspora Scholarship Empowerment Fund, University of Windsor.
Honours: Includes Freedom Award, Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia (2010); Distinguished Men of Honour Award, Black Business & Professional Association (2010); Leadership Award, Planet Africa (2009); Outstanding Achievement Award, National Council of Visible Minorities in the Public Service (2009); Special Board Award of Business Excellence, Black Business Initiative (2009); Hon. LLD, Acadia University (2007); Hon. LLD, University of Guelph (2006); Human Rights Award, Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (2006); African-Canadian Achievement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Politics, (2004); Hon. LLD, Dalhousie University (2003); Outstanding Achievement Award, Harry Jerome Award for Community Services, Black Business & Professional Association (1996).
Works: Report Maximizing the Talents of Visible Minorities, Conference Board of Canada (2005); article Achieving Results through Diversity: a Strategy for Success, Ivey Business Journal (March/April 2005); report The Nova Scotia Black Community & Diaspora: Models of Upward Mobility (1994).
Reviewed in: Journey: African Canadian History (2000); Some Black Men (1999).
Education: LLB, Dalhousie University (1964); BA/Hons (History), Acadia University (1960).
Motto: Hard work is the foundation of success.
Favourite book? The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.
Favourite quotes? 1) Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi 2) ” Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama 3) “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? Represent Canada abroad as ambassador.
Who inspires you? Nelson Mandela.
Why do you do what you do? I want to give back to Canadians, so all people can enjoy the fruits and benefits of this great country.