Author Ann-Marie MacDonald, Olympian Beckie Scott joining Order of Canada

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette has made 103 appointments to the Order of Canada, a list that includes business leaders, authors, theatre directors, athletes and Indigenous leaders.

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette has made 103 new appointments to the Order of Canada

Author Ann-Marie MacDonald has been named an officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions to the arts and advocacy for women's and LGBTQ rights. (Hannah Yoon/Canadian Press)

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette has made 103 new appointments to the Order of Canada, a list that includes business leaders, authors, theatre directors, athletes and Indigenous leaders.

Among those named to the level of officer of the Order of Canada (the second of three levels) is actress, author and playwright Ann-Marie MacDonald. She is being recognized not only for her contributions to the arts but also for her advocacy of LGBTQ+ and women's rights.

MacDonald has written several plays but is perhaps best known for her work as an author. Her 1997 book Fall on Your Knees, following the lives of four sisters from Cape Breton Island, was named to Oprah Winfrey's book club.

"I am deeply honoured. I feel it is a grave honour," MacDonald told CBC. "It's truly a serious honour and I am humbled and I wish my father were alive to see it — he passed away a year ago. He would have loved this, although I actually think he is completely aware of it."

"It's actually deeply meaningful to me. I am a thoroughgoing Canadian. My mother's people were immigrants, my father was Royal Canadian Armed Forces. I've grown up benefiting from public support for the arts. I live in a community that is diverse. I am a married lesbian, I've got two daughters. I just feel that there are so many things that are very, very right with our country." 

MacDonald said if her award could draw attention to all the things that Canada has going for it in a world that seems to be leaning more and more toward populism and the alt-right, she would be honoured.

Christopher Newton, the longtime artistic director of the Shaw Festival, is also being appointed an officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to live theatre.

Newton retired as artistic director in 2002 after 23 years, and is credited with helping Shaw secure its place as a world class theatre festival with the clout to attract top talent every year.

Christopher Newton was Theatre Calgary's first artistic director before moving on to take up the same role for the Shaw Festival. (David Cooper)

Maxine Noel, an Indigenous artist from Stratford, Ont., is being appointed a member of the Order of Canada for her work as a visual artist and for encouraging and promoting creative expression in Indigenous communities.

"My art is the way I offer healing to the worlds around me, worlds sitting so often on the cusp of destruction and brutality," Noel said in a statement. "These worlds are dangerous and beautiful places, sacred to us all, and so their health and their healing are responsibilities we all must take up, each of us finding the work we need to do, and then doing it well and fully.

Maxine Noel, an Indigenous artist from Stratford, Ont., has a record of promoting creative expression in Indigenous communities. (provided/gg)

"I am honoured by my appointment to the Order of Canada, an honour I share with my people, and with all peoples doing the work of making a better world, with those who came before, and with those still to come."

Shirley Cheechoo from the M'Chigeeng First Nation in Ontario is being named a member "for her multi-dimensional contributions to Canadian film and her support for emerging Indigenous artists."

Cheechoo, an award-winning filmmaker, director, writer and actor, was a cast member in the CBC-TV series The Rez. She is also the chancellor of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont.

Former Olympic cross-country ski racer Beckie Scott, from Canmore, Alta., is being appointed to the officer level of the Order of Canada for her contributions to sport and her work to eliminate doping from amateur sport.

Scott raced in three Olympics — 1998, 2002 and 2006 — and was the first North American woman to win a medal in cross-country skiing after securing gold in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Scott said she felt tremendously grateful to have been born in Canada and to have opportunities to pursue her hopes and dreams.

Canadian cross-country skier Beckie Scott had her 2002 Olympic bronze medal upgraded to silver and then to gold in 2004 after winner Olga Danilova and silver medallist Larissa Lazutina of Russia were disqualified for doping offences. (Chris Bolin/Canadian Press/File)

"The magnitude of receiving such a distinguished award is almost indescribable, and I could not be more honoured to join the ranks of such accomplished Canadians," she said in a statement.

"My father was an immigrant to Canada, but without question the proudest Canadian I knew. He would have been profoundly moved to know I was receiving this award, and so I dedicate this to him and his indomitable spirit."

Dominique Rankin, a residential school survivor from La Conception, Que., is being named to the member level "for his dedication to the preservation of Algonquin culture and for his advocacy of peace as an elder and spiritual leader."

"I was very surprised. I am very happy and I am very proud of what has happened for me. I have worked very hard in my life," Rankin said. "This will help me to continue my vision."

Algonquin Hereditary Chief Dominique Rankin considers the promotion of peace and reconcilliation his life's work: 'I say every day, "We are brothers and sisters. There is no difference. Your blood and my blood, is same colour."' (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

Rankin said that he wants to continue to work toward reconciliation, healing and peace and hopes the profile the honour gives him helps in his mission.

"I want to help reconciliation, I believe in that. We talk often now about residential schools, not to relive the suffering but for healing.

"We have the same colour blood, it's only outside we appear as another colour, and that is my vision for today."

Daniel Lessard says he has 'always tried to explain politics in a simple way, to help people understand more easily the issues of the day.' (Marie-Sandrine Auger/Radio-Canada)

Canadian broadcaster Daniel Lessard had a 39-year career at Radio-Canada that saw him serve as a national correspondent on Parliament Hill before being promoted to Ottawa bureau chief. He's being named to the member level for "his analysis and popularization of Canadian politics and for his literary achievements."

"It's a great honour at this stage of my career to find myself amongst people I admire, like Jean Béliveau, Oscar Peterson, Andrée Lachapelle, Marie-Claire Blais and good friends like Chantal Hébert, Bernard Derome and Don Newman," he told CBC.

Lessard said he hopes the recognition of his work draws attention to the need for news organizations to make politics and political stories as accessible as possible.

"Our political system is not perfect, all politicians are not perfect, but it is a much better system than any other. In this era of so much false news, I also hope that my humble contribution will encourage people to get their news from proven media sources."

André Simard is being made a member of the Order of Canada for 'his expertise in choreographing spectacular acrobatic and aerial acts for the circus arts, both in Canada and on the world stage.' (submitted/cirque du soleil)

Gloria Macarenko, a longtime CBC host, is being appointed for her contributions to British Columbia's broadcasting industry and for supporting "various charitable causes."

André ​Simard of Saint-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., who has worked with Cirque du Soleil since 1987, is being appointed a member "for his expertise in choreographing spectacular acrobatic and aerial acts for the circus arts, both in Canada and on the world stage."

Simard was also a three-time Canadian men's all around gymnastic champion who represented Canada at the Munich Olympics before moving into a training role for young gymnasts.

"All my life, I have given the best of myself unconditionally to my athletes, student artists and employers. I am very proud of that," he said in a statement.

"I would especially like to thank Jean Paul Marcil and Richard Montpetit, who guided me throughout my career as a gymnast, and all those who have accompanied me along the many paths my life has taken. "

The list

A full list of the new appointees to the Order of Canada can be found below: 

Companions of the Order of Canada

  • James Arthur, C.C. 
  • Geoffrey E. Hinton, C.C. 

Officers of the Order of Canada

  • Jo-ann Archibald Q'um Q'um Xiiem
  • Vernon Burrows, O.C. – This is a promotion within the order.
  • Leonard Joseph Cariou, O.C. 
  • Levente László Diosady, O.C. 
  • Digvir Jayas, O.C. 
  • Suzanne Lacasse, O.C.
  • Robert Lacroix, O.C – This is a promotion within the order.
  • Daniel Lamarre, O.C.
  • Leroy Little Bear, O.C., A.O.E.
  • Ann-Marie MacDonald, O.C.
  • Christopher Newton, O.C. – This is a promotion within the order.
  • Jean Pelletier, O.C.
  • Rebecca Scott, O.C., M.S.M.
  • Robert Tessier, O.C.
  • Richard Ernest Tremblay, O.C., O.Q. 

Honorary members of the Order of Canada

  • Kathleen Reichs, C.M.
  • Richard J. Schmeelk, C.M., C.Q.

Members of the Order of Canada

  • Eva Aariak, C.M.
  • Brent Belzberg, C.M.
  • Hélène Boisjoly, C.M.
  • Barbara M. Bowlby, C.M
  • Doneta A. P. Brotchie, C.M.
  • Shelley Ann Marie Brown, C.M.
  • John M. Brunton, C.M.
  • Shirley Cheechoo, C.M.
  • Robert Crosbie, C.M.
  • Joanne Cuthbertson, C.M.
  • Kevin J. Dancey, C.M.
  • Michel de la Chenelière, C.M., C.Q.
  • Raymond L. Desjardins, C.M.
  • Thomas Dignan, C.M., O.Ont. 
  • Ian Robert Dohoo, C.M.
  • Lyse Doucet, C.M., O.B.E.
  • Micheline Dumont, C.M.
  • Jean André Élie, C.M.
  • Darren Entwistle, C.M.
  • Ann McCain Evans, C.M.
  • Roxanne Fairweather, C.M., O.N.B.
  • Ross D. Feldman, C.M.
  • Charles Edgar Fipke, C.M.
  • Charles Fischer, C.M.
  • Léopold L. Foulem, C.M.
  • Ron Foxcroft, C.M.
  • John Ferguson Godfrey, P.C., C.M.
  • Georges Henri Goguen, C.M.
  • Blake Charles Goldring, C.M., M.S.M., C.D. 
  • Serge Gouin, C.M. 
  • Jean Grand-Maître, C.M.
  • Daniel Granger, C.M.
  • Gordon Cecil Gray, C.M., O. Ont.
  • Alfred Halasa, C.M.
  • Linda Hasenfratz, C.M.
  • Jay Hennick, C.M.
  • Michael Higgins, C.M.
  • Paul John Higgins, C.M.
  • Robert Hindmarch, C.M., O.B.C.
  • Robert Hung-Ngai Ho, C.M., O.B.C.
  • John Kirk Howard, C.M.
  • Austin Hillard Hunt, C.M.
  • Barbara Jackman, C.M.
  • Christina Jennings, C.M.
  • Alexandra F. Johnston, C.M.
  • Bengt Jörgen, C.M.
  • Roger Philip Kerans, C.M.
  • Robert Korneluk, C.M.
  • Mary R. L'Abbé, C.M.
  • Gilbert Laporte, C.M.
  • Donald Gordon Lawson, C.M.
  • Daniel Lessard, C.M.
  • H. Frank Lewis, C.M., O.P.E.I.
  • James Lockyer, C.M.
  • Gloria Macarenko, C.M.
  • John McEwen, C.M.
  • Jefferson Mooney, C.M.
  • Raymond Alexander Muzyka, C.M.
  • Maxine Noel, C.M.
  • Francis Pang, C.M.
  • Kathleen Pearson, C.M.
  • Isabelle Peretz, C.M., O.Q.
  • Andrew Petter, C.M.
  • Marshall S. Pynkoski, C.M.
  • Imant Karlis Raminsh, C.M.
  • Dominique Rankin, C.M., C.Q. 
  • John Rea, C.M.
  • Michèle Rivet, C.M.
  • Henri-Paul Rousseau, C.M.
  • Claudine Roy, C.M., C.Q.
  • Louis Sabourin, C.M.
  • André Simard, C.M.
  • Peter D. Simons, C.M., C.Q.
  • Pekka Sinervo, C.M.
  • Arthur Slutsky, O.C.
  • Heather Stuart, C.M.
  • Camille Henri Thériault, C.M.
  • Charles Maral Tisseyre, C.M.
  • Denis Vaugeois, C.M., O.Q.
  • Elisabeth Walker-Young, C.M.
  • Rhoda Wurtele Eaves, C.M.
  • Rhona Wurtele Gillis, C.M.
  • Gregory Zeschuk, C.M. 
  • Jeannette Regula Lajeunesse Zingg, C.M.


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