Nova Scotia

4 Nova Scotians added to the Order of Canada

Four Nova Scotians, including a historian, a fiddler, a health law advocate and a documentary filmmaker, are among the 125 new appointments to the Order of Canada.

Historian, fiddler, health law advocate and documentary filmmaker are among the recipients

Four Nova Scotians were added to the Order of Canada on Friday.

Four Nova Scotians, including a historian, a fiddler, a documentary filmmaker and a health law advocate, have been added to the Order of Canada.

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette made the announcement Friday of 125 new appointments to the Order of Canada in its 50th year.

The Nova Scotian recipients are:

  • Elizabeth Cromwell of Shelburne for her contributions to black heritage preservation and education in Nova Scotia.
  • Gordon Stobbe of Seaforth for his commitment to the preservation of fiddle music as a performer, composer and teacher.
  • Jocelyn Downie of Halifax for her contributions to Canadian health law and policy, notably through her efforts to promote high-quality end-of-life care.
  • Catherine Anne Martin of Blind Bay for her award-winning documentaries and for her commitment to promoting education among the members of the Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Innu and Inuit communities, particularly women and youth.
Catherine Anne Martin was among the Nova Scotians added to the Order of Canada. (Nic Meloney/CBC)

'Speechless' and 'flabbergasted'

"I was speechless. I wasn't expecting it," said Cromwell, who was involved with restoring the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown, which burned down in 2006.

"It's kind of a confirmation that even though our beginnings here in Canada were a little on the rough side, that we are recognized as citizens of Canada … so the things that happened to our people when we came here never happen again."

Elizabeth Cromwell, founder and president of the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, was one of the four Nova Scotians added to the Order of Canada. (CBC)

Gordon Stobbe said he was "flabbergasted and dumbfounded" by the news.

"When you're doing the work, you're engaged in the work.… You don't much think about this kind of an end to it. You just keep going," he said.

Stobbe's parents came to Canada from Ukraine through what he calls a "fluke of luck."

"I play Canadian fiddle music so to me, it's our instrument in a way. In every corner of the country, people are playing this instrument or learning this instrument," he said.

"You can tuck it under your arm and put it in a canoe. All the clichés about this, they're clichés actually because they're true. To be recognized by the country that's given me everything is wonderful."

Receiving awards at a later date

Jocelyn Downie said while she was delighted to hear her work is respected and valued, she also felt a touch of amusement.

"I've certainly been a person who has argued against some of the steps that different governments have taken," Downie explained.

Jocelyn Downie was recognized for her contributions to health law and policy in Canada. (CBC)

The Dalhousie University law professor said she hopes that more people will become what she calls engaged academics.

"We are free to do the deep scholarship research and writing, but also that it's really important for us to stand up and advocate for certain policy positions. And that you can have a very successful career doing so," Downie said.

The recipients will be invited to receive their insignia at a later date.

With files from Carsten Knox