Removal from the Order of Canada

Removal from the Order of Canada

Recipients of the Order of Canada can have their honour revoked if the Order's Advisory Council feels that a recipient's actions have brought dishonour to the Order. As of 2005, only two people have been removed from the Order of Canada: Alan Eagleson and David Ahenakew. Eagleson was removed from the Order after being jailed for fraud in 1998ref|Eagleson and Ahenakew was removed in 2005 after being convicted of promoting anti-Semitic hatred in 2002.ref|Ahenakew The formal removal process is performed by the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada, though it can be initiated by any citizen of Canada.


Paragraph 25, section C of the Constitution of the Order of Canada allows the Governor General of Canada to remove a person from the Order of Canada by issuing an ordinance based on a decision of the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada. This decision is based on 'evidence and guided by the principle of fairness and shall only be made after the Council has ascertained the relevant facts relating to the case under consideration.'ref|Policy2 A member of the Order can be removed for being 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. Official sanctions can include fines, reprimands, or disbarment (as was the case for Alan Eagleson). However, the only punishment the Advisory Council can issue is removal from the Order of Canada.


The removal process begins by sending a written petition to the Deputy Secretary of The Chancellery or by the Deputy Secretary initiating the process himself/herself. If the petition was started by a citizen, the claim could be judged as valid or invalid. If it is invalid, the Deputy Secretary will consult with the Secretary General of the Order and a letter will be sent to petitioner explaining their decision. If it is valid, the petition will be sent by the Secretary General to the Advisory Council.

The Advisory Council now has the decision to either continue or to stop the removal process. If it stops, the Secretary General will notify the petitioner. If the Council sees reasonable grounds for the process to continue, the removal-nominee will go through the remainder of the removal process.

The Secretary General will send a registered letter to the removal-nominee that allegations were filled against them and their status in the Order of Canada is under consideration by the Advisory Council. The letter also gives the removal-nominee the options of responding to the allegations or to resign from the Order.

If the removal-nominee decides to leave the Order on their own, they will notify the Secretary General of their decision. If the removal-nominee decides to challenge the allegations, either they or their authorized representative will respond to the allegations within the time limit set in the notification letter. Whatever action the removal-nominee takes, the process will be handed back to the Advisory Council for further consideration. Once the Advisory Council has made their decision, they will send a report to the Governor General explaining their findings and their recommendations. The Governor General, following the recommendation of the Advisory Council, will either notify the person that they will remain in the Order in good standing or issue an ordinance terminating a person's membership in the Order. Once the ordinance has been published, the person must return all Order insignia to the Secretary General of the Order and their name will be removed from all records held by the Chancellery. The former member also loses the right to use their post-nominal letters in their names and loses the use of the Order motto, ribbon and medal on their personal coat of arms.

When the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador was created in 2001 it included a removal system modelled after that one used by the Order of Canada.

Change in Status

The first person "removed" from the Order was more of a transfer of status rather than a removal. In 1981 Mrs. Zena Sheardown was appointed an honorary member of the Order of Canada. Mrs. Sheardown was the wife of John Sheardown a staff member at the Canadian embassy in Tehran during the Iranian Revolution. At this time the new regime did not recognize international laws regarding diplomatic immunity and allowed a group of students to take control of the US embassy and hold its staff members hostage. Several staff were not on site at this time and found refuge with the Canadian diplomatic contingent. At great personal risk the Sheardowns personally housed four Americans in their home for months until they could be safely removed from the country. At this point, although married to a Canadian, Zena Sheardown was a British subject having been born in Guyana. On the advice of The Queen's Privy Council for Canada (the federal cabinet) Sheardown was appointed the first honorary member of the Order of Canada in 1981. By the time she was to be invested in the Order Sheardown had become a naturalized canadian. Shortly before her investiture the governor general terminated her honorary appointment and immediately authorized a new appointment as a full member.

Individuals Removed from the Order

As of 2006, there have only been two individuals who have been removed from the Order of Canada: Alan Eagleson in 1998; and David Ahenakew in 2005.

Alan Eagleson

Alan Eagleson was appointed to the rank of Officer of the Order of Canada April 20 1989 for his work in promoting the sport of ice hockey. While serving as the head of the National Hockey League's Players Association, he was accused of defrauding players out of money. Other charges included racketeering, embezzlement, and obstruction of justice with 34 total charges in the United States and 8 in Canada.ref|EaglesonCharges After pleading guilty, Eagleson was removed from the Order by Governor General Roméo LeBlanc in 1998, the first person to be removed from the Order. Eagleson also became the first person to voluntarily resign from the Hockey Hall of Fame in addition to being disbarred.ref|EaglesonClip Before the official removal from the Order, it had been suggested that Eagleson had received membership due to his support of one of the two major political parties.ref|Eaglesonpolitical During some of the court procedures before he went to jail, he wore his Order of Canada lapel pin, despite the fact it was already stripped from him and he was going to jail.ref|Eaglesonpin

David Ahenakew

Ahenakew was appointed to the grade of Member in 1978 for his long time "service to Indians and Métis in Saskatchewan culminated in his election as Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, which has revolutionized Indian education in his province."ref|AhenakewAppointment Ahenakew first came under fire in 2002 after giving a profanity-laden speech. In this speech, Ahenakew called the Jewish people "a disease."ref|CP Ahenakew made taped comments to the "Saskatoon StarPhoenix" a few days after the speech that included "That's how Hitler came in. That he was going to make d*** sure that Jews weren't going to take over", and "That's why he fried six million of those guys."ref|CBC After both events, the Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees of Quebec Ted Moses called for Ahenakew to be removed from the Order, which was supported by several Jewish groups and figures in Canada.

In June of 2003, Ahenakew was formally charged by the Saskatchewan Justice Department with the charge of willingly promoting hatred; but his removal from the Order was put on hold until the legal dispute was finished.ref|ACStatement Christopher McCreery, the author of the book "", said this was done because the "Order's Advisory Council has traditionally steered clear of dealing with recipients who have run into public problems."ref|Globeandmail

Ahenakew's membership in the Order was not brought up again by the Advisory Council until a meeting held on 29 June 2005. At this meeting, with nine members present and one abstention (Beverley McLachlin, the Chief Justice of Canada), it took the Council 90 minutes to decide to remove Ahenakew from the Order. The "Globe and Mail" listed the following members of the Advisory Council that were present and voted to remove Ahenakew from the Order: Tom Jackson, Karen Kain, Alex Himelfarb, Antonine Maillet, Ruth Goldbloom and Gilles Paquet. After the meeting, the Council sent Ahenakew a letter to ask him to respond to the Council's decision or resign his membership. However, neither Ahenakew nor his lawyer Doug Christie responded to the letter by the 9 July deadline set by the Advisory Council. This led Governor General Adrienne Clarkson to issue an ordinance on 11 July to officially remove Ahenakew from the Order of Canada.

Before Ahenakew's removal, Christy said that Ahenakew should still be able to hold onto his insignia. Christy was quoted by the "Globe and Mail" as saying "I think that once you are given a gift, and it is a gift, I don't think anyone can ask for it back." McCreery stated that Ahenakew must return the insignia since they belong to the Order, not to Ahenakew. Paragraph 23 of the Order Constitution states that when a person either leaves or has been removed from the Order, the insignia must be returned to the Secretary General of the Order. McCreery said that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police can be sent to get the insignia by force, but he believes it will not come down to that. For the purpose of preventing the sale of the insignia, the Member does not own the insignia, however the order does allow for the insignia to be retained as a family heirloom or donated to a "reputable museum".

Ahenakew has come out and criticized the Jewish population since he believes they are the group behind the effort to remove him from the Order. Ahenakew said at a news conference on 8 July 2005 that his removal "was the direct result of the pressure put on the [Governor General's] advisory committee by some of the Jewish community, including a letter-writing campaign and the lobbying by the Canadian Jewish Congress", and "Accepting the Order of Canada comes with no injunction against free speech. I am now forced to choose between freedom of speech and the Order of Canada. I choose free speech."ref|YahooCA McCerry rebutted Ahenakew by stating that Jewish groups were not the primary reason Ahenakew was removed from the Order. McCerry said that "Of course the main Jewish organizations were involved in this, but . . . it was Canadians in general that were outraged. So pointing the finger at the Canadian Jewish Congress or B'nai Brith is a bit of a red herring."

A spokesperson from the Governor General, Lucie Brosseau, has not set a time table or procedure to get "his snowflake insignia back", but said to the Canadian Press that "Out of respect for Mr. Ahenakew we have to allow him to have time to read the letter, to react, to think and we will give him an appropriate amount of time."ref|YahooCA2 Ahenakew has stated that he will not return his lapel pin, telling the Canadian press that it will have to be removed from him.

Others facing removal calls

tephen Fonyo

Fonyo was the youngest person ever appointed as an Officer of the Order in 1985, but following his appointment he developed an addiction to cocaine. The Advisory Council considered removing him in 1995 following a criminal conviction related to his cocaine use, but did not move to strip him from the order [McCreery, Christopher (2005). The Order of Canada: Its Origins, History, and Development. University of Toronto Press, pp. 213. ISBN 0802039405.]

T. Alex Hickman, O.C.

A man by the name of Byron Prior has asked for T. Alex Hickman, the former Justice Minister of Newfoundland, to be removed from the Order since 2003. Prior claims that one of his sisters was raped by Hickman and that Hickman is trying to cover it up.ref|Priorref|Prior2 The Chancellery of Honours was sent a letter about Hickman's removal and the letter was placed in a file for Hickman.ref|HickmanLetter Hickman was appointed to the grade of Officer for his long time service to the Canadian Government and to the Canadian legal system.ref|Hickman

=Lord Black of Crossharbour=

Media baron Conrad Black has been a controversial figure in Canada for many years and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990.ref|Blackcitation He surrendered his Canadian citizenship to become a British life peer in 2001.ref|Blackcitizen He remains in the Order of Canada. In 2005 he was formally charged in the United States on charges of racketeering, obstruction of justice, money laundering and wire fraud. Due to his conviction in 2007, a council will meet to decide if Black will remain in the Order. [Canadian Press [ Black has future as a writer, but business career over, say those who know him] . Written by Laura Bobak. Published July 13th, 2007. Retrieved July 16, 2007.] The Order of Canada advisory council to the Governor General is expected to meet in the autumn of 2007 to discuss Conrad Black's appointment to the honour. It has been suggested that his expulsion may not be considered until after he has completed the process of appealing his conviction. [ [ CTV News: "Harper says he won't help Black return to Canada"; July 18, 2007] ]

Other ways to leave

The Constitution for the Order of Canada also allows for membership in the Order to end if a member passes away or resigns voluntarily.ref|Constitution If a member dies, he or she can still use their post-nominal letters and their family can keep the insignia as family heirlooms. If a member resigns, he or she must return all insignia and lose the use of the Order motto, ribbon, and medal on their personal coat of arms.


Old format

# [ CBC account on the rise and fall of Eagleson.]
# [] CBC article on Ahenakew's comments and reactions.
#endnote|Policy2 [] Paragraph 2 of the Policy and Procedure for Termination of Appointment to the Order Of Canada Policy.
# [] Listing of some of Eagleson's charges and legal issues.
# [] CBC video of Eagleson leaving the Hockey Hall of Fame.
# []
# []
# [] Ahenakew's citation (deleted after he was removed).
# [] Canadian Press article on Ahenakew's possible removal from the Order
# [] CBC article on his speech and his comments to the reporter
# [] 8 May 2003 statement from the Advisory Council on Ahenakew's membership in the Order
# [] Globe and Mail's article on the process of removing Ahenakew from the Order.
# []
# []
# [ Coverup accusations against Hickman]
# [ Letter sent to the Chancellery about Hickman]
# [ T. Alex Hickman's citation]
# [] Conrad Black's Order of Canada Citation.
# [] CBC news article about Black renouncing his citizenship.
# [] Dr. Ranjit Chandra's Order of Canada citation.
# [] , [] , [] , [] , [] , [] , [] Several articles related to the charges against Dr. Ranjit Chandra.
# [] Ben Johnson Order of Canada citation
# [] Paragraph 25 (a) (b) of the Constitution of the Order of Canada.

External links

* [ The Constitution of the Order of Canada] Includes Policy and Procedure for Termination of Appointment to the Order Of Canada
* [ Announcement of Eagleson's removal]
* [ Announcement of Ahenakew's removal]
* [ CBC Archives: Eagleson loses his Order of Canada]

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