Quebec superstar Céline Dion, who re-emerged onto the music scene with a blockbuster world tour this year, was promoted within the Order of Canada Tuesday and is among the latest group of esteemed Canadians to be honoured by the order.
Dion's tour this year ranked second in terms of revenue behind that of American pop diva Madonna. The Quebec singer joins internationally acclaimed tenor Ben Heppner, investment guru Stephen Jarislowsky and Barrick Gold founder and philanthropist Peter Munk as the Order of Canada's newest companions — the honour's highest of three levels and a promotion within the order for each of the recipients.
Additions at the officer level of the order include former politician and retired senator Allan J. MacEachen of Cape Breton and Northwest Territories politician and aboriginal land rights activist Nellie Cournoyea.
Other new officers announced Tuesday by Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean include:
- Edmonton-based cardiovascular surgeon Arvind Koshal.
- Montreal contemporary dancer Louise Lecavalier.
- Saskatchewan-born former Federal Court judge and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms pioneer Barry Strayer.
Fredericton's Willie O'Ree, the first black player to join the National Hockey League, is among the newest appointees at the member level of the order. Others new members include:
- Edmonton International Fringe Festival founder Brian Paisley.
- Newfoundland poet Don McKay.
- Quebec television personality Suzanne Lapointe.
- West Coast publisher James J. Douglas.
The newest additions will receive their Order of Canada insignias at a Rideau Hall ceremony to be determined at a later date.
The Order of Canada, the country's highest honour, recognizes citizens for outstanding achievements or for exceptional contributions to the culture of the country. Established in 1967, the award has been presented to more than 5,500 people.
A diverse group of Canadians on an advisory committee reviews nominations and selects a batch of recipients twice a year. These names are then recommended to the Governor General.