March 23, 2017

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I’m pleased to rise today to recognize an Oxford hero, George Leslie Mackay. This week would have marked Dr. Mackay’s 173rd birthday. All these years later, he’s still remembered not just here in Ontario but throughout Taiwan as a hero.

As a young man, George Leslie Mackay travelled to Taiwan, which was then known as Formosa, as a missionary. He fell in love with this island. He learned the language, married a woman from Formosa named Minnie and set about helping people in any way he could, including by practising dentistry, pulling over 10,000 teeth.

He said, “I was pulled by an invisible string to an unknown place. But when that beautiful view of the green mountains on the island came to me, all was cleared that this was where my life would like to be.”

George Leslie Mackay returned to Oxford several times over the years. During his time at home, he raised money to build a hospital and schools in Taiwan, including the first school for girls and a university. He is also credited with helping to create the first newspaper. During his time back in Canada, Dr. Mackay also had a significant impact through his work to fight discrimination and to oppose the Chinese head tax.

Today, Dr. George Leslie Mackay’s legacy lives on in the schools he created, the modern hospital that bears his name and in the strong friendship between Taiwan and my riding of Oxford. It is a friendship and a legacy that we will continue to celebrate.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to make a statement today.