Wednesday, July 04, 2007

TheoCons: Getting The Facts Wrong

Over at Lifesite, we find the locals getting their knickers in a twist over one of the recipients of an Order of Canada award:

OTTAWA, Ontario, July 3, 2007 ( - Rev. Brent Hawkes of the Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto, the same man who flouted Canadian law by illegally "marrying" a homosexual couple in 2001, and who subsequently pushed homosexual "marriage" on Canada through the back-door of the judicial system, has now been awarded the highest honor that can be given to a Canadian civilian.
...The award given under the Conservative Government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has come as a shock to social conservatives and Catholics since Hawkes, in addition to flouting the law on marriage has attacked the Vatican. In an affidavit before the Supreme Court of Canada Hawkes bashed a Vatican document on homosexual unions and statements by Catholic bishops on the same as "expressions of hatred that should not be tolerated in our society."

Okay, I can get that the people behind Lifesite are TheoCons, and probably don't think too highly of anyone who supports equality rights.

But, you think this bunch of thick-witted fools could actually get their facts straight. First of all, the Order of Canada award is not a "political" award per se - that is to say, the PMO has little or no say in the matter. On the nominations page for the Order of Canada, we find reference to an Advisory Council. While the Governor General's website is somewhat oblique about who is on that council, a bit more digging turns up a rather nice list on Wikipedia:

The task of the Advisory Council is to evaluate the nominations of people to the Order and see if the nominated people are worthy enough to be accepted into the Order. The Governor General of Canada makes the appointments to the Order based on recommendations from the Advisory Council. The Secretary General to the Advisory Council announces the decision of the Advisory Council to the Canada Gazette and to the public about any appointments and dismissals from the Order.

The Advisory Council, which is chaired by the Chief Justice of Canada, includes the Clerk of the Privy Council, the Deputy Minister of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Chairperson of the Canada Council for the Arts, the President of the Royal Society of Canada, and the Chairperson of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. As well, five members of the Order are part of the Council for a maximum three-year term. If the nomination involves a non-Canadian, the Deputy Minister of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will be invited by the Advisory Council to evaluate the nomination.

The current members of the Advisory Council are:

1. The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada (Chair)
2. Dr. Patricia Baird, O.C., O.B.C.
3. Dr. Patricia A. Demers, President, the Royal Society of Canada
4. Mr. Tom Jackson, O.C.
5. Ms. Karen Kain, C.C., Chair, the Canada Council for the Arts
6. Ms. Judith A. LaRocque, C.V.O., FRHSC (hon) Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage
7. Dr. Daurene E. Lewis, C.M.
8. Mr. Kevin G. Lynch, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
9. M. L. Jacques Ménard, O.C.
10. Mr. J.E. (Ted) Newall, O.C.
11. Ms. Bonnie M. Patterson, Chairman of the Board, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Looking at this list, one might imagine that although the politicians have some influence in the process, it's fairly limited. It's highly unlikely that Harper's minions had much to do with Rev. Hawkes' nomination in the first place, and by the looks of the structure of the advisory council, would have had a hard time squashing it on the basis of whatever petty partisan arguments they might have.

If there is a fundamental point to be made, it is that the Order of Canada is not, and should not become a vehicle for partisan politics at any time. It is external to the topics of daily political squabbles, and to drag it into the realm of the 'House of Commons' politics is somewhere in the realm of offensive to the very idea of the Order itself.


Anonymous said...

There is one consistency with the tripe that comes out of is usually fact-challenged. I understand that one Gwen Landolt is the individual behind Lifesite. She is one of Canada's uber-homophobic bigots and ought to be tossed into the dustbin of history where she belongs.

Grog said...

While I agree that Gwen Landolt is an irredeemable twit, I'm pretty sure that the linkages for Lifesite connect back to Campaign Life (check the e-mail addy's of some of these people)