SHOULD Dr. MARGARET SOMERVILLE GET THE ORDER OF CANADA.

The fallout from Dr. Henry Morgentaler being awarded the Order of Canada is still with us.  A Catholic priest in B.C. has returned his Order,  a Catholic organization in Ontario has returned theirs, and a Catholic nun is mulling whether to give back hers.

Which brings us to the case of Dr. Margaret Somerville,  the distinguished ethicist at McGill University.  Let me deal with any bias straightaway.  I have known Dr. Somerville for a number of yea  rs, I like her and I respect her opinions (although I do not necessarily agree with all of them).

Whatever one thinks of her views, there is little argument about whether she has strong Order-worthy credentials.  Somerville breaks out of the ivory tower at every opportunity to contribute to legal and ethical debates over such issues as stem-cell research, euthanasia, biotechnology. animal-research, nuclear waste-management and so on.  She has written several powerful books including The Ethical Canary which I highly recommend.

One would think her an ideal candidate for the Order.  And indeed she was nominated two years ago by a faculty member of the Toronto School of Theology (U. of T.) named Carol Finlay.  Finlay says the Order told he it had turned Somerville down because she is too “controversial.”

Isn’t that a laugher?  Especially in the light of the Morgentaler award.  It’s true that Somerville has been critical of abortion and gay marriage.  And it’s true that the Order has already been awarded to the Rev. Brent Hawkes, a Toronto cleric who  performed Canada’s first same=sex marriage.   And now it’s been awarded to Morgentaler, the most controversial candidate in the Order’s history, who championed abortion.

Surely Somerville’s exclusion is political correctness run wild.  As she said herself in a speech in Vancouver last month:  “Political correctness operates by shutting down non-politically correct people’s freedom of speech.  Anyone who challenges the politically correct stance is automatically labelled as intolerant,  a bigot or a hatemonger.”  And turned down for the Order to boot.  A fact that says a lot more about the Order’s agenda (pro abortion?) than it does about  Somerville.

Do you agree it’s hight time Margaret Somerville was awarded the Order of Canada?

And if not, why not?

14 Comments »

  1. 1
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Neil,
    For some years now the OoC has lost its virginity and its value. Just as the Legion of Honor has in France. And for the same reason: just plain opportunism and flagrant politicking.
    I fail to see how Ms Somerville, or any other for that matter, should wish to recieve that devalued trinket at the price of their freedom tp think and speak out wether we agree with them or not>

  2. 2
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Neil,
    For some years now the OoC has lost its virginity and its value. Just as the Legion of Honor has in France. And for the same reason: just plain opportunism and flagrant politicking.
    I fail to see how Ms Somerville, or any other for that matter, should wish to recieve that devalued trinket at the price of their freedom tp think and speak out wether we agree with them or not.

  3. 3
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Sorry for the repetition, I must have it a wrong key somwhere.

  4. 4
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    Paul:-

    Sadly, I’m afraid you are right. How much value is there in the Order of Canada when the Chief Justice, Beverley McLaughlin, drives the Morgentaler nomination on the strength of her proabortion agenda. To give the award to Morgentaler and deny it to Somerville is a kind of rape of our highest honours list.

  5. 5
    Chimera Says:

    The OoC is awarded to people who have made a difference. It is not awarded on the basis of who sits on the right or left of the political spectrum. Has Somerville done something to make a difference? If so, let her have one.

    This is not a popularity contest which must be agreed upon by every citizen before it can be given to anyone. If that were the case, no one would ever see it.

    Agree, disagree, shrug and ask who cares. What difference does it really make in the long run?

  6. 6
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    Chimera,

    As I suggested in my post I believe Margaret Somerville has done more than enough to deserve the Order of Canada. Of course, the award does not have to be agreed on by every Canadian. But up until this time every award has been agreed to by a unanimous consensus of the eleven=member awarding committee. This time the Chief Justice ( who was pushing Morgentaler) called for a vote. Two committee members voted against Morgentaler’s award.
    What difference does it make in the long? The difference it makes that Morgentaler’s award debases our highest honours list. Pity.

  7. 7
    Chimera Says:

    I don’t understand, Neil. I have been under the impression that you agreed with a woman’s right to choose. If that’s not the case, I wonder what it was you said that made me think that.

    But if it is the case, then why would you say that the awarding of the OoC to the one man who had more to do with gaining women the right to choose than any other man debases the award?

    I can’t find anything that says unanymity is required.

  8. 8
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    It was not the abortion as such but the fact that Dr. Morgentaler is so divisive that made him a poor recipient for the Order of Canada. Nor do I believe that any church has the right to tell those who are not its adherents what they must or must no do on any serious moral issue.

    I think any sensible person would agree that the Order of Canada has been tarnished since Morgentaler received it.

  9. 9

    Man, is Paul right on this one.

    Awards, (Nobel) Prizes, Orders, Knighthood – all watered down now.

    I don’t know who she is so I can’t comment. But it is to laugh for real at the “controversial” excuse.

    Look, Canada’s Walk of Fame still refuses to induct Andy Kim – but it puts Brendan Fraser in. The Hockey Hall of Fame refuses Paul Henderson. There is NO RATIONAL reason to keep either out. It’s pure politics.

    How can we take this Halls and Walks seriously?

  10. 10
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    the commentator:-

    I was not aware that Paul Henderson has been left out of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Seems ridiculous.

    On the other hand, I don’t expect Barry Bonds or Pete Rose will ever make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Babe Ruth made it even though he was an alcoholic. Go figure.

    Thanks for your comment.

  11. 11
    Chimera Says:

    “I think any sensible person would agree that the Order of Canada has been tarnished since Morgentaler received it.”

    Only if you define “sensible” as someone who agrees with you on this issue, as I do not.

    It’s not Morgentaler who is being divisive, Neil; it’s the minority of people who want to impose their own morality, roll back the clock, and revert to denying women the right to self-determination that are being divisive. Morgentaler was a proponent of women’s rights to choose. Would you take that away?

  12. 12

    It’s become absurd this whole hall thing. How we keep some out and how others get in. How ’bout Ty Cobb?

    I’m at the point MLB should absolve the Blacksox. When you read the story of that scandal you realize there’s a whole lot of hypocrisy to go around. I think they paid their dues.

  13. 13
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    The Commentator:-

    You are the first person I know who wants to absolve the Blacksox. I’m not familiar enough with baseball history to know whether or not that is justified.

  14. 14

    I may be out of line (especially for some of the other players involved but MLB wasn’t exactly run by men of honour either) with this assertion but when you look at things in a sober manner, there is no reason to keep Shoeless Joe Jackson out any more.

    Thanks on the Dallaire thing. I’ve mentioned this on my blog. Enjoy Maine.


RSS Feed for this entry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 85 other followers