October 2, 2003 Halifax Herald

Order of N.S. deserves better from media

ON SEPT. 6, I picked up my copy of The Herald expecting to see prominently displayed on the front page, or at least the second page, the faces of the five worthy community-spirited Nova Scotians who were selected this year by the province for the Order of Nova Scotia. But, alas, not on either one. I finally found them on page A7. Radio, at least the stations I listen to, didn't even mention them. Unfortunately, I can't make any comment about what Friday night TV news had to say about the significant event because I was out at the time and missed it.

The before mentioned leads to this question: Have we got our priorities so out of whack in this society that frivolous things, such as a man on a horse being barred from Tim's, rate front-page coverage; while positive things, such as honouring some of the province's most illustrious, dedicated, engaged and proactive ordinary citizens, are regulated to filler status? Try this for comparison: Good works are ignored, but let one of them get caught shoplifting, or driving while impaired, etc., and they get widespread headline news media coverage.

I single out ordinary Nova Scotians for lauding because the rich and/or famous get it just by being rich and/or famous. For example, a person such as Bill Gates gives several million for a community purpose and he is lavishly praised by the news media. Why? He's only giving back to us part of what we gave him in the first place by buying his product. I don't say this to try to disparage such gifts from these compassionate individuals; I say it to highlight that, in comparison, a good many ordinary citizens give something far more valuable toward trying to make our communities better places to live - their lifetimes. Shouldn't a gift as valuable and wonderful as a lifetime of service take precedence over something as frivolous as money, or a dispute over a horse going through a Tim's drive-thru?

I think humanity is in dire need of revisiting its values!

The Order of Nova Scotia is the highest honour of this province. Established in 2002, it encourages excellence by recognizing Nova Scotians for outstanding contributions or achievements. Members of the Order of Nova Scotia have distinguished themselves in many fields of endeavour and have brought honour and prestige to themselves and to Nova Scotia.

Any Canadian citizen who is a present or former long-term resident of Nova Scotia is eligible for nomination to the Order. The only exceptions are public officials (such as members of the Senate, MPs, MLAs, municipal councillors or judges), who may not be nominated while they are in office. The Order may be awarded posthumously, if the person is nominated within one year of his or her death. Only individuals may be nominated, not couples, groups or organizations.

If you know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the cultural life or the social or economic well-being of our province, you should consider nominating him or her for the Order of Nova Scotia. It is a special way to honour an individual you respect and admire. Fields of endeavour recognized by this honour include the arts, academics, research, agriculture, business, industry, community leadership, public service and volunteer service.

Nominations are accepted throughout the year. The deadline for consideration is the third Friday of March.

How are recipients of the Order chosen? An independent group called the Order of Nova Scotia Advisory Council recommends the appointment of members to the Order each year, after considering all nominations received. There are no fixed quotas or categories, but a maximum number of five appointments will be made each year; although 10 members were selected in the first year.

For further information, please contact: The Protocol Office, One Government Place, Barrington Level, 1700 Granville St., Halifax, N.S. B3J 1X5; telephone 902-424-4463; fax 902-424-4309; e-mail orderofns@gov.ns.ca.

Residing within the boundaries of our province are hundreds of community-minded citizens who are worthy of nomination for the Order; pick your choice and send it in. If not successful the first time around, do more work on your submission and try again and again. And perhaps, in line with your display of community spirit, the news media will take the process more seriously and give major coverage to the process and to those selected. After all, they are pivotal among the leading doers and shakers who make a society work.

Can you picture how much poorer our communities would be without their services? For examples, there wouldn't be many positive changes to the societal rules we operate under, no community picnics, ball and other sport teams, fund raising activities and so on. These selfless people are essential to the future well-being of our society; let's treat them as such, and give them the full public recognition that they so richly deserve!

Daniel N. Paul


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