Included in the Governor General's 113 new appointments to the Order of Canada are editorial cartonnist Bruce MacKinnon, left, political science professor and advisor John McGarry, centre, and former senator Sharon Carstairs. Photo courtesy of, in order, The Chronicle Herald, Queen's University, and Sharon Carstairs

Catholics make their mark in Order of Canada

  • June 30, 2016

David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, announced 113 new appointments to the Order of Canada, one of the highest civilian honours of the land.

A handful of Canadian Catholics were recognized for their outstanding achievement and service to the country.

John McGarry is recognized as an Officer of the Order of Canada (O.C.) for his scholarly achievements in political science, especially in national and international conflict resolution. When he is not working as a lead advisor for the UN-backed negotiations in Cyprus, he works in Kingston, Ont., as a professor of political studies at Queen's University and a Canada Research chair in nationalism and democracy. 

Before arriving at Queen's he worked as a political science professor at the University of Waterloo from 1999 to 2002 and at King's University College from 1989 to 1999.

Former senator Hon. Sharon Carstairs from Winnipeg is honoured as a Member of the Order of Canada (C.M.) for her work as a public servant and long-time advocate for palliative care programs across the country. 

Carstairs served as Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister with Special Responsibility for Palliative Care from 2001 to 2003. 

After her term in Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's cabinet, she continue her work as chairperson of the Special Committee on Aging from 2006 to 2009. It was there that she helped issue a report that integrated palliative care in to the core curriculum in Canadian medical schools. 

She also helped develop the Canadian Virtual Hospice web site which provides Canadians with online support and information on palliative care.

London-native Gerald Fagan, C.M., is considered to be one of Canada's premier choral conductors. Before his musical talents were recognized by the advisory council for the Order of Canada, he received his earliest music training from the Sisters of St. Joseph at the Sacred Heart Convent in London, Ont.

He has worked and performed with some of the world's most renowned musicians and vocal artists. He served two terms as the artistic director of the Ontario Youth Choir and was also the founding conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir. He also co-founded and became the artistic director of the Bach Music Festival of Canada.

Bruce MacKinnon, C.M., of Halifax's The Chronicle Herald, is one of Canada's most skilled and most prolific editorial cartoonists. This St. Francis Xavier University alumnus now adds Member of the Order of Canada to his long list of awards and recognitions, including 18 Atlantic Journalism Awards and six National Newspaper Awards for his political cartoons.

His works are in permanent display at St. Francis Xavier University, the National Art Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Joe Mancini, C.M., and Stephanie Mancini, C.M., are recognized for their dedication in supporting the homeless and marginalized of the Kitchener-Waterloo region. The couple had just graduated from St. Jerome's College at the University of Waterloo when they established The Working Centre in 1982. 

The nonprofit organization helps the poor and unemployed to gain long-term stability through a variety of projects, such as job search support, affordable housing and practical education.

Former New Brunswick Lt.-Gov. Hon. Graydon Nicholas, C.M. is a lawyer, activist, judge and advocate for education in native studies. He earned a bachelor of science degree from St. Francis Xavier University before he became the first First Nations person in Atlantic Canada to earn a law degree in 1971 from the University of New Brunswick.

He continued to make history by becoming the first to be appointed as a provincial court judge in 1991 and the first aboriginal person to hold the office of lieutenant-governor. He now works at St. Thomas University as a part-time lecturer and chair of the Native Studies program.

Kathleen Taylor, C.M., is recognized for her work in the hotel and financial services-sector, but also for her work in community engagement. In her 24 years working for Four Season Hotels and Resorts, she held many leadership roles and climbed her way to be president and CEO in 2010. 

Because of her work to establish the hotel-chain's global status, she was named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network in 2011 and 2014. She was also inducted in the Canadian Marketing Hall of Legends in 2009.

An alumni of the Oshawa Catholic High School, now called Msgr. Paul Dwyer Catholic High School, she is an active member of Oshawa's school community. She is also dedicated to a number of charity organizations. Most recently, she was named chair of Toronto's SickKids Foundation.

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