Crooner Michael Bublé is set to become a member of the Order of B.C. but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will have to wait a year to find out if she will receive the honour.
The selection committee celebrating B.C. Day by honouring 13 British Columbians.
But Henry is no snub: the Order of B.C. deadline for nominations was March 6, a few weeks before the province was thrust into the COVID-19 pandemic.
There has been an online groundswell of support for Henry to receive the Order of B.C. and Order of Canada for her internationally acclaimed work leading British Columbia through the pandemic.
“We receive a significant number of fresh nominations every year and clearly people will be motivated to nominate those who stood out in the recent past in British Columbia and that will clearly reflect some of the heroes in this particular challenge we are now facing,” Chief Justice of British Columbia and chair of the selection committee Robert Bauman said.
Bauman could not speak directly to this year’s nominations because the nomination process is confidential.
It is unknown whether anyone nominated Henry before the pandemic began.
The committee did not consider either extending the nomination period or making special exceptions for individuals who have made an impact during the pandemic that would lead to deserving an Order of B.C.
“Do we make exceptions to that? It’s in my experience that we do not. We have not at least,” Bauman said.
“Did we specifically look at looking at exemption this year? I want to be discreet in protecting the confidentially of the process but I can say we did not consider specific exceptions this year.”
The 2020 Order of B.C. class is full “exceptional people” according to Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin.
The most recognizable name is Bublé, who also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and many Junos and Grammys.
Former B.C. finance minister Carole Taylor, who was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2001, is now being honoured with the Order of B.C. Taylor was finance minister in Gordon Campbell’s cabinet from 2005 to 2008.
Real estate developer Ryan Beedie is part of the class of 2020. The West Vancouver native started Beedie Luminaries last year, a $50-million fund for scholarships for those who face financial barriers to post-secondary education.
“I am delighted to welcome 13 new members to the order,” Austin said.
“They have helped us to grow as a province, taught us to care for our environment, enriched our lives with literature and art, helped us to address past injustices and inspired us to become a more caring and inclusive society. To recognize these remarkable people, who are changing our communities for the better in many ways, is an honour of great personal significance to me.”
This year, 160 British Columbians were nominated.
The process for nominations is available on the Order of B.C. website. But receiving an Order of B.C. is not about who can get the most people to send in a nomination.
“It is not a case simply of the number of people writing in. It is the record of the individual that will speak volumes,” Bauman said.
The ceremony for this year’s Order of B.C. will likely be postponed due to the ongoing pandemic. The selection process was done virtually for the first time.
As for Henry’s likelihood of receiving an honour next year, Bauman says he does not want to prejudge the confidential process but has been very impressed with her leadership as provincial health officer.
“I think her leadership has been inspiring,” Bauman said.
“I think she has stood our province proud and offered very effective leadership in these difficult times. I am reminded by my colleagues in Prince Edward Island that she is from Prince Edward Island and they are very proud of her as well.”
In a tweet, Premier John Horgan congratulated the 2020 winners and added his support for Henry for next year’s recipients.
“Like many of you, I think a certain Provincial Health Officers would be deserving of this merit,” Horgan tweeted.
Full List of 2020 Order of B.C. recipients
Shashi Assanand of Richmond
Ryan Beedie of West Vancouver
Michael Bublé of Burnaby
Shirley Chan of Vancouver
Neil Cook, MGC, of Cranbrook
Paul George of Gibsons
Rusty Goepel of Vancouver
John Malcolm Horton of Delta
Dr. Mel Krajden, of Vancouver
Janet Nadine Mort, PhD, of Brentwood Bay
Tracy Porteous of Vancouver
Carole Taylor, OC, of Vancouver
Ruth Williams of Kamloops