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September 2, 2009
NOTE: Photos and biographies of the 2009 Order of Nova Scotia recipients are available at http://gov.ns.ca/prot/2009recipients.htm
A longtime cabinet minister, an advocate for Mi’Kmaq people, and a crusader for social justice are among the five Nova Scotians being recognized this year for their outstanding contributions and achievements. Premier Darrell Dexter announced the 2009 Order of Nova Scotia recipients today, Sept. 2.”The Order of Nova Scotia is the province’s highest honour,” said Premier Dexter. “This year’s recipients have made significant contributions to Nova Scotia, and I would like to thank them for their extraordinary service and outstanding contributions to their communities and to the province.”
The 2009 recipients are:
– Michael Gilbert Baker (posthumous), Lunenburg, was first elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 1998, representing the constituents of Lunenburg. He served in cabinet as the Minister of Transportation and Public Works, Minister of Communications Nova Scotia, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and Minister of Finance. During the final years of his tenure, he continued to provide exemplary service to the people of the province despite his own personal battle with a life-threatening and debilitating disease. His untimely death cut short a lifetime of dedicated, and committed service to Nova Scotia and its residents.
– Melvin James Boutilier, Halifax, is the founding member and current director of the Community Care Network, formerly known as the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank. He has dedicated his life to helping the underprivileged and easing the burden of poverty in Nova Scotia for the past 25 years. His efforts help to feed more than 20,000 people in Halifax annually. He has been instrumental in creating a Community Skills Development Centre in partnership with the Nova Scotia Community College. The centre offers courses to people in the community who would otherwise not be able to afford an education. His strong social commitment, and selfless dedication to helping those most in need has enriched the lives of thousands of Nova Scotians.
– Muriel Helena Duckworth (deceased), Bedford, worked as a tireless crusader and advocate for social justice and change through her involvement with numerous organizations for more than 70 years. Supporting peace initiatives, social reform, women’s rights, and educational development had been her life’s work. Over several decades, Ms. Duckworth played an integral role in the evolution and development of Canadian women’s social and peace movements at local, provincial and national levels. She was one among a thousand women worldwide nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was a recipient of the Persons’ Award and the Pearson Medal of Peace. She had received numerous honorary degrees from various universities across Canada. She was a Companion of the Order of Canada.
– Philip Riteman, Bedford, has dedicated the past 20 years of his life to the education and enlightenment of Nova Scotia’s youth on the unspeakable horrors and atrocities of the Holocaust. In his mid-teens, he and his family were deported to Pruzhany Ghetto. From there they were transported by train in January 1942 to Birkenau Auschwitz. Mr. Riteman was the only one of his family to survive. He began to share his story and give a voice to the more than six million Jews who were killed. He speaks with great courage and without bitterness of his personal experiences in Auschwitz. He has made an outstanding contribution to the province of Nova Scotia with his message of respect, responsibility, compassion and hope.
– Viola Marie Robinson, Truro, is a longtime advocate for Mi’kmaq people and for the advancement of Aboriginal and treaty rights in Nova Scotia and Canada. Her expertise and unique perspective have contributed to the development and implementation of the Made-In-Nova Scotia Process which is designed to address Mi’kmaq social, legal and political issues between the federal and provincial governments. Having received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Dalhousie University, she went on to study law, graduating with a law degree in 1998. Her leadership, inspiration, hard work and dedication to her fellow Mi’kmaw has led to many positive changes within First Nations communities in Nova Scotia and across Canada.
The recipients were selected in June by the Order of Nova Scotia Advisory Council from 79 nominations from across the province.
The 2009 recipients will be recognized at an Investiture Ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Province House.
The Order of Nova Scotia was established in June 2001 and is the highest honour bestowed by the province. Recipients have the right to use the initials O.N.S. after their names.
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