Wendy Morton, M.S.M. of Sooke was recognized today as one of 16 exceptional civic leaders, to be appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the Province’s highest form of recognition. Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon, chancellor of the Order, announced the names of all 16 recipients today.
Nationally-recognized champion of the poetic form, Morton has single-handedly, and with both levity and sincerity, introduced the appreciation of poetry to diverse economic and culturally diverse groups including Indigenous youth who participated in her nationwide reconciliation project connecting young and old — The Elder Project.
Last year at about this time, Wendy Morton received a Meritorious Service Medal from Canada’s Governor General.
“For 28 years, the Order of British Columbia has recognized exceptional individuals whose hard work, generosity of spirit and outstanding achievements have contributed immeasurably to the well-being of our communities,” said Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon. “I extend my congratulations to this year’s recipients and thank them for inspiring all of us with their efforts to build a healthy, diverse and inclusive province for generations to come.”
Over the years, the B.C. government has worked to increase awareness of the Province’s highest honour to ensure that outstanding people from all eligible categories and from all parts of the province have an opportunity to be honoured. The Province has received more than 5,600 public nominations for the Order of British Columbia in 28 years.
This year, 175 British Columbians were nominated for the Order. More than half of the nominations came from the Lower Mainland, with the remaining coming from other regions throughout the Province.
Since its inception, 418 British Columbians have been appointed to the Order of British Columbia. Members have been appointed from all regions of the province and in numbers generally proportionate to a region’s population.
This year’s recipients are:
- Joseph Arvay, O.C., QC of Victoria: Lawyer credited with advancing civil liberties and defending before the Supreme Court of Canada many cases that saved lives, improved the lives of marginalized people, and secured the important rights of others.
- Gary Birch, O.C. of Vancouver: Paralympian and an electrical engineer whose research and developments in brain-computer interface and other forms of assistive technologies have changed the lives of people with disabilities by giving them greater independence.
- James Byrnes of Vancouver: Legendary and award-winning Vancouver blues singer, actor and philanthropist whose early career included playing alongside blues greats such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal and Robert Cray.
- Elaine Carty, C.M. of Vancouver: Champion for health-care options for pregnant women in British Columbia. Through her tireless research and advocacy, Carty was instrumental in bringing midwifery into the mainstream and providing pregnant women with disabilities supportive delivery and postnatal care.
- Lance S.G. Finch, QC of West Vancouver: Retired Chief Justice of the B.C. Court of Appeal and champion for justice innovation, renowned for his thoughtful and intellectually rigorous decisions, many made in the years immediately following the enactment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- Dr. Jiri Frohlich of Vancouver: Recognized as the founder of modern preventative heart disease practices, Frohlich’s research and clinical work shaped contemporary medical thinking around the link between cholesterol and heart disease and led to the creation of national guidelines for identification and treatment for inherited heart disease.
- Stanley W. Hamilton of Vancouver: Respected Sauder School of Business professor emeritus, Hamilton leaves an indelible mark on the province’s urban landscape with the professional and volunteer work he has done in the areas of business and project management, industry governance, property tax reform and arts management.
- Dr. Rosamund Harrison of Vancouver: An international leader in pediatric dentistry and early childhood oral health promotion, Harrison has enhanced pediatric dentistry education at UBC and championed policy change to improve oral health of children in low-income, new immigrant and Indigenous communities.
- Roslyn Kunin, C.M. of Vancouver: An economist on the development of small towns and Indigenous communities, Kunin is an opinion leader on the economic importance of the treaty process, as well as a sought-after industry board member and public commentator on matters related to immigration, labour market issues and statistics.
- Tim Manning of Kelowna/Vancouver: A retired banking executive and committed volunteer, Manning had a global career during which he lent his expertise to many corporate and non-profit causes, including the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, where he championed its first and historic gender-balanced board of directors.
- Sarah Morgan-Silvester of Vancouver: An influential business leader and senior banker, Morgan-Silvester served as the inaugural chair of the newly formed Port Metro Vancouver, Canada’s largest port and the third largest in North America, and lends her time and expertise to numerous non-profit boards.
- Wendy Morton, M.S.M. of Sooke: Nationally-recognized champion of the poetic form, Morton has single-handedly, and with both levity and sincerity, introduced the appreciation of poetry to diverse economic and culturally diverse groups including Indigenous youth who participated in her nationwide reconciliation project connecting young and old — The Elder Project.
- Paul Myers of West Vancouver: Founding member of the B.C. Construction Labour Relations Association and a major philanthropist, Myers ran a highly successful mechanical contracting business while devoting countless hours to promoting training, better working conditions, and labour stability in the province.
- Wally Oppal, QC of Vancouver: Retired Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judge Oppal dedicated his life to public service both as an elected official and in his legal profession, and focused many of his efforts on improving the lives of those most vulnerable in society.
- Neil Sterritt of 150 Mile House: A leader in land claims and other First Nations issues, Sterritt led the Gitxsan people during a seminal legal case in Canada’s constitutional history which went on to have an impact on other court cases on Aboriginal rights and title.
- Jennifer Wade of Vancouver: A human rights advocate, Wade is one of the founding members of Amnesty International in Vancouver. She has worked not only on behalf of prisoners of conscience all over the world, but also has been a public spokesperson and champion for prisoners’ rights, children-in-care, and people facing injustices.
Recipients of the Order of British Columbia are selected by an independent advisory committee. The 2017 advisory committee consisted of:
- The Honourable Robert J. Bauman (chair), chief justice of British Columbia
- The Honourable Darryl Plecas, speaker of the Legislative Assembly
- Dr. Alan Davis, president and vice-chancellor, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
- Okenge Yuma Morisho, deputy minister, Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat
- Wendy Booth, president, Union of British Columbia Municipalities
- Janet Austin, OBC
- Kim Baird, OBC
The Order of British Columbia investiture ceremony will be held for recipients and invited guests at Government House in Victoria on December 14, 2017. It will be webcast live here: http://www.orderofbc.gov.bc.ca