Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Deception, Disgrace

David Ahenakew has been officially stripped of the Order of Canada. Good. I'm no fan of the Order of Canada on its own merits - it smacks of an elitist quasi-knighthood granted (perhaps like the practical exercise of that venerable British institution in more recent years, but certainly not in its intent) not for genuine service to the country or general merit, but on the basis of pure whim. (Well, whim, plus adherence to a rather Trudeaupian set of values, which is unsurprising given the makeup of the Advisory Council that makes the official recommendations of nominees to the GG.) It's still for the best that it not be lowered by willing association with an authentic hatemonger like Ahenakew. But, there's a catch: Mr. Ahenakew, who has already vowed he won't return the award, is only the second person ever to be terminated from the honour roll, which celebrates public service and achievement. [...] While the advisory council has clear procedures on how to revoke the award, it has no formal rules on what to do if an expelled recipient doesn't want to co-operate and return it. There has been no time limit imposed about when the council expects Mr. Ahenakew, a war veteran, to send it back to Ottawa. The Order of Canada is a civilian honour bestowed by the state, officially in the person of the Governor-General, yes? The state, not the government? If that's the case, then explain to me what would be improper with charging the RCMP, as Canada's sole state police force, with sending an officer or two around to (politely) confiscate Ahenakew's medal, lapel pin, certificate, etc.? It'd be a less questionable use of the heavy hand of the state than the ongoing harassment of the government's political enemies, at the very least.

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