While it may just be the latest shiny object to be dangled in front of the public to keep them distracted from Stephen Harper's prorogation shenanigans and the response from both the electorate and the opposition until the big Burning Stick Festival in Vancouver next month, I still think this is unfair, hypocritical and just plain mean-spirited.
Cancer runner Steve Fonyo stripped of Order of Canada
The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — He finished Terry Fox's run across Canada and raised millions for cancer research, but in the two decades since then his life has been marked by run-ins with the law.
Now Rideau Hall has revoked Steve Fonyo Jr.'s membership in the Order of Canada, one of the country's highest civilian honours.
Fonyo, an amputee like Fox, was awarded the order in 1985 after raising more than $13 million. It was recognition of his 14-month, 8,000-kilometre trek on an artificial leg along the Trans-Canada Highway, completing the epic journey Fox had planned from St. John's, NL, to Victoria.
Owing to a slew of criminal convictions, however, the 44-year-old was stripped of the award on Dec. 10. A notice of the revocation appeared in the Canada Gazette on Jan. 23.
Fonyo, then of Vernon, B.C., was named The Canadian Press Newsmaker of the Year in 1985, but his stretch of inspirational stories eventually took a negative turn.
The one-time hero, who lost his leg to bone cancer at age 12, battled cocaine addiction and depression.
The story goes on to describe Fonyo's various convictions for petty drug offenses, assault, check-kiting and drunken driving. CTV ran a response from Fonyo a day later - he spoke to them by telephone from jail.
Admittedly Fonyo has not lead an exemplary life since he was awarded the Order at age 18, but he was not given the award for the life he was going to lead or for his ongoing contributions to Canada - he was given the award for finishing what Terry Fox started, running across the country on an artificial leg to raise awareness of and money for cancer research.
Compare his case to this one:
Mountie who admitted sexually assaulting teen will receive bravery
The Governor General's office says an Alberta Mountie who has admitted sexually assaulting a teenage girl will still receive a national award for bravery.
By Calgary Herald
September 4, 2008
CALGARY - The Governor General’s office says an Alberta Mountie who has admitted sexually assaulting a teenage girl will still receive a national award for bravery.
Guy Armand Raes of Airdrie was recently named a recipient of the Governor
General’s Star of Courage award.
On Wednesday, a week after the announcement, Raes was in front of a provincial court judge pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a teen he befriended through an RCMP investigation. He will be sentenced next week.
Raes, 50, helped rescue a young couple and guided other residents to safety during a massive row house fire in Airdrie, a residential community just north of Calgary, in August 2005. The court case has no bearing on Raes’s award, according to the Governor General’s office.
“He is being recognized for an act of bravery that happened in 2005,” said Marie-Paule Thorn, spokeswoman for the Governor General’s office.
Now, to be honest, I think that Mr. Raes should keep his Star of Courage award. As the GG's spokewoman says, the award is about a specific deed that he performed in 2005 and no matter what he did afterwards, that deed stands alone. The same could be said to be true for Steve Fonyo - as an 18 year old he set out to run across the country and raise money for cancer research, finishing the job Terry Fox could not. He spent 14 months of his life accomplishing this astonishing feat, raised nearly $14 million dollars for cancer research and inspired the nation. Has he lived an exemplary life since then? No. So what? His troubled life since then does not in any way diminish his accomplishment and it is for that accomplishment the Order of Canada was awarded.
I'll admit the rules do say the order can be stripped from those who are "convicted of a Crime in Canada or if the conduct of the person has otherwise brought dishonour to the Order. A person can also be removed from the Order if his or her personal conduct in public departs significantly from recognized standards and is seen as undermining the credibility, integrity, or relevance of the Order; if his or her conduct is a departure from what they have accomplished to be appointed to the Order; or if they have been subjected to an official sanction by an adjudicating body, professional association, or other organization."
So, what about this guy?