Saturday, December 12, 2009

3 Out Of 9 Kind Of Sucks: 2/3rds Of Morgentaler Protesters Kept Their Snowflakes!

Last week we discovered that Frank Chauvin, the fellow who launched a court-challenge against Henry Morgentaler's Order of Canada back in 2008, and who had threatened to return his own snow-flake in protest, eventually decided to hang onto the thing.

One of the articles that discussed his decision also mentioned that: least eight other recipients had [returned their Order of Canada], in order to pursue the judicial review.

And in another article on the same topic, it was stated that:

On Wednesday, former New Brunswick lieutenant-governor Gilbert Finn returned his Order of Canada in protest.

So I thought: hmmm! I wonder how many of the original nine protesting recipients actually followed through. And I wrote the following email to the GG's office:

Mr. Gilbert Finn claimed in 2008 that he had returned his Order of Canada to protest the awarding of the same medal to Dr. Henry Morgentaler. However, when I check Mr. Finn's entry there is nothing there to indicate that the award was actually returned. Can this be confirmed somehow? Also, there were 8 other recipients who claim to have returned their medal for the same reason. Would it be possible to confirm if there were any actual returns made in 2008?

M.J. Murphy
Toronto, Ontario

And yesterday the GG's office finally responded:

Dear Mr. Murphy:

Thank you for your email. Mr. René Racine, Ms. Jacqueline Richard and Cardinal Jean Claude Turcotte resigned from the Order of Canada in 2008. The Honourable Gilbert Finn has not resigned.

Thank you for taking the time to write.

Yours sincerely,

Denis Poirier
Assistant Director / Directeur adjoint
Chancellery of Honours / Chancellerie des distinctions honorifiques
Office of the Secretary to the Governor General
Bureau du secrétaire du gouverneur général1
, promenade Sussex Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0A1
t: 613.991.5845
t: 1.800.465.6890

So three out of nine actually walked the talk, while the other six (often after having received much fawning media attention from right-wing columnists for their "bravery" in confronting the "culture of death" and etc.) had second thoughts. Sucked out, as a matter of fact.

Now, one happy sub-story here is the fact that Alphonse Gerwing's name is missing from the list above. Mr. Gerwing had passed away in 2007, and in fact it was his brother and sister who were contemplating sending back the snowflake in his name. This caused a rift within the family--Ralph Gerwing spoke to the matter here--and so in the end I think it a good thing that calmer heads prevailed.


Ti-Guy said...

Just returning the medal doesn't do anything. You have to resign from the Order, for which there's a formal process. I bet when these self-agrandising moralisers found out what it entails, they moved on to screaming about something else involving other people's crotches.

Reality Bites said...

And in the case of Alphonse Gerwing, his relatives could return the medal, fill out all the forms they want, take out billboards across the country and fill late-night TV with infomercials denouncing the OAC and it wouldn't alter a thing. They can't resign on his behalf. No legal or moral standing to do so, unless perhaps he left a will stating "and in the event the OAC is ever bestowed on Dr. Henry Morgentaler, I renounce my membership in the order."

I could mail my grandfather's medical school diploma back to McGill and it wouldn't change the fact that he was a Doctor!