By Stephen Fuhr
From the fields of science, community activism, literature, politics and sports, this year’s Order of Canada recipients were announced on June 29 on behalf of Governor General Julie Payette.
It gives me great pleasure to share with you that two of the recipients are remarkable women with strong links to the Central Okanagan.
Bev Busson, from the North Okanagan region, was made a Member of the Order of Canada for her lifelong commitment to public safety and for her dedicated service to Canadians through her involvement in multiple national and regional safety and justice initiatives.
Busson was one of the first women to join the RCMP when it opened its ranks to women in the early 1970s. By then, she had graduated from UBC’s law school and subsequently went on to become the commanding officer for the Province of Saskatchewan and then the first woman to lead the RCMP as its 21st commissioner in December 2006. Busson retired to the Shuswap and was an important member of the Okanagan College Foundation board for many years.
Deanna Hamilton from the Westbank First Nation, was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada for her visionary contributions to First Nations fiscal management and governance, which have led to greater independence for Indigenous communities across Canada.
Returning to her community in the 1970s, Hamilton realized that without proper funding most aboriginal communities, hers included, would never be able to provide the infrastructure most non-native communities take for granted—for sewers, water, sidewalks and streetlights.
She was elected to the WFN council, developed her first nation’s property tax system, and then sought out a model that could be adapted to enable first nations to raise funds to create essential on-reserve infrastructure needed for their progress and development.
With Hamilton’s remarkable tenacity, leadership and guidance, the First Nations’ Finance Authority sold its first Moody’s rated bond issue in 2014.
Created in 1967, the Order of Canada, one of our country’s highest civilian honours and recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. It also recognizes those who have taken to heart the motto of the order: Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam, which translated into English is: They Desire A Better Country.
Appointments are made by the governor general on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada in the name of all Canadians.
Appointees are awarded one of three levels under the order: member, which recognizes outstanding contributions at the local or regional level or in a special field of activity; officer, which recognizes national service or achievement and companion, the highest honour, which recognizes national pre-eminence or international service or achievement.
Any person or group is welcome to nominate a deserving individual as a possible candidate for appointment to the Order of Canada. More information on the nomination process, and on this year’s recipients, can be found at the website of the governor general at www.gg.ca .
On behalf of our community and those throughout the Okanagan who have benefited from Busson and Hamilton’s commitment and contribution to our nation, I offer our sincere appreciation and congratulations.
Stephen Fuhr is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country.
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