A 1995 Harry Jerome Leadership award winner has been appointed to the Order of Nova Scotia. Wayne Adams, who has made an indelible imprint in the Maritime province over the last four decades, will be conferred with the honour on November 30 at Province House.
The first African-Canadian member and Cabinet minister of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly said he was humbled to learn that he’s a recipient of the province’s highest honour which was launched 10 years ago.
“Quite frankly, it’s a feeling of humility,” he said. “It is very gratifying, particularly hearing that I was nominated by someone I didn’t know personally. The best two words in the English Language I can come up with are ‘thank you'”.
Elected in 1993 in Preston on a campaign message to halt the growth and future development of municipal dumps near low income families and promote a cleaner and safer environment, Adams served as Minister of the Environment and Minister Responsible for the Emergency Measures Act and the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority. The Liberal politician lost to New Democratic Party candidate Yvonne Atwell – the first Black woman Member of the Legislative Assembly in the province – in the 1998 elections.
As the longest-serving environment minister, he initiated the first comprehensive solid waste management strategy in Canada and was mainly responsible for the setting up of the new environmental industries sector. He also introduced the Protected Spaces Act that preserved close to 8,000 acres of environmentally significant land for the enjoyment of future generations.
In addition, Adams reactivated a 200-year-old trade agreement between Nova Scotia and the Caribbean and led trade delegations of environmental industries to Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados which resulted in significant capital benefits for companies in the province.
Born in Halifax, Adams was first elected to that city’s municipal council in 1979 and re-elected five times. He was deputy mayor from 1982 to 1983. And he was a founding member of the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia, past chair of the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children and executive director of the Black Cultural Centre of which he’s now an honorary member.
Adams has also been involved in broadcast and print journalism. He provided national and local coverage of Canada’s second Summer Games in Halifax in 1967. He currently hosts a Sunday Morning Gospel Hour on community radio 94.7 FM and writes a weekly column for the Daily News.
Adams has been a trailblazer in business in his home province. He was the manager of Nova Scotia’s first indoor service station at Scotia Square, the first Black owner/operator of a Shell Service Station in Lower Sackville and the region’s first Black new car salesman and used car manager.
He currently serves as chief executive officer of Adams Consulting & Management Group, which was established eight years ago.
Appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2003, Adams holds an honorary doctorate of Civil Laws from St. Mary’s University.
Previous African Canadian Order of Nova Scotia recipients are newspaper publisher Carrie Best who was inducted posthumously in 2002, the late Edith Cromwell who was the first member of her African Nova Scotia community to graduate from high school, distinguished poet, playwright, novelist and scholar Dr. George Elliott Clarke and outspoken racial equality and justice advocate, Burnley “Rocky” Jones.