What led to Order of Canada revocation under wraps
Douglas Quan, ctvbc.ca
Published Thursday, January 28, 2010 7:03PM PST
The Governor General’s office declined to say Thursday whether the decision to revoke Steve Fonyo’s Order of Canada membership was spurred by a member of the public or from within the office.
Annabelle Cloutier, a spokeswoman with the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, told ctvbc.ca via email that there are two ways the termination process can begin: someone can submit a letter in writing to the Deputy Secretary or the Deputy Secretary initiates a review on his or her own.
But Cloutier declined to say what prompted the review of Fonyo, the amputee who ran across Canada and raised millions of dollars for cancer research.
“Unfortunately, these matters remain confidential,” she said.
The Governor General’s office has said that Fonyo’s Order of Canada membership was revoked because of his multiple criminal convictions.
Since receiving the honour in 1985, when he was 18, Fonyo has had numerous run-ins with the law, including multiple convictions for impaired driving and driving while prohibited.
He is currently serving a sentence in the Hope, B.C., area for breach of probation.
In a phone interview with CTV News on Wednesday, Fonyo admitted taking “stupid chances,” but said he feels he deserves to remain a member of the Order of Canada.
“I don’t think it’s right. I know I have some legal problems. But I never hurt anybody but myself and my reputation. I think it’s wrong for Ottawa to do that,” Fonyo said.
Many B.C. residents have thrown their support behind Fonyo in letters to the editor and in radio call-in shows.
Three other people have had their Order of Canada membership revoked since it was established in 1967.
*Alan Eagleson, the former hockey agent and executive director of the NHL Players Association, had his membership revoked in 1998 after being found guilty of fraud.
*Aboriginal leader David Ahenakew lost his membership in 2005 after being convicted of promoting hatred against Jews. He was later acquitted of the charge after an appeal.
*Lawyer and race-relations advocate T. Sher Singh lost his membership in 2008 after the Law Society of Upper Canada found him guilty of professional misconduct and revoked his license to practice law.