Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal causes concern for some mayors

Colwood’s Carol Hamilton considers returning award

Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton presents a Diamond Jubilee Medal to Geoff Amy on Feb. 25. Hamilton also received a medal but is considering returning it because she worries it dilutes the meaning behind the medals presented to deserving residents.

In Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton’s office sits, in its box, a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal that she hasn’t told many people about because she is seriously considering sending it back.

She didn’t ask for it, doesn’t know what led to her nomination and is concerned that she and other mayors receiving the medal dilutes the honour bestowed on more deserving recipients.

“It sits there because I haven’t yet decided on how this should be,” Hamilton said.

In celebration of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, a total of 60,000 medals were produced to “honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians,” according to the Governor General’s website.

Recipients come from all walks of life and have included such people as Sidney Crosby and Justin Bieber, along with a great number of citizens honoured for volunteer work in their communities.

Also awarded have been more than 1,000 mayors, by way of nominations made by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. So many, that some have refused to receive them.

Earlier this year, two Ottawa area mayors, Raye-Anne Briscoe of Admaston/Bromley and Peter Emon of Greater Madawaska, returned their medals, believing they received the honour simply because they are mayors.

Not everyone sees the FCM nominations as a problem. With her award coming from the FCM, North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall said the honour was a delightful surprise.

“I thought it was lovely, it was a very nice recognition and I was very touched by that,” Finall said. “I certainly didn’t feel (it was meaningless). With the national body, I felt very honoured.”

It’s a delicate situation, Hamilton said, because she believes the FCM nomination was well intentioned, but also unfairly singles her out from the rest of her council and belittles the awards received by people specifically nominated.

Through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Colwood had the opportunity to recognize nine residents for their various contributions to the community.

“We, as council, went through that process with a very purposeful mindset of recognizing people who often fall under the radar, who do a number of things that benefit our community,” Hamilton said. “I’m torn with it because I don’t want to diminish the meaningfulness of those that we sent out.”

The FCM (a voluntary union of municipalities active since 1901) received 4,000 medals to give away. An initial round of medals allowed municipalities to nominate residents to receive the awards. Approximately 2,500 citizens received medals, based on merit.

After this, all municipalities active with the federation for five years or more were nominated for the award by the FCM, and the mayors received these medals because they had to go to a person, not an entire council.

Of 3,800 mayors across the country, about 1,300 were nominated by the FCM. Of those, some 1,100 to 1,200 received Diamond Jubilee medals, essentially on behalf of their council.

Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard received a Diamond Jubilee medal from the province. He tried not to make a big deal of it because he’s uneasy with politicians giving other politicians awards.

“That part of it I’m not too comfortable with,” Leonard said. “I’m much more interested in the volunteer citizens that we recognized.”

Saanich council was only able to award Diamond Jubilee medals to two citizens. Leonard said there are many more Saanich residents that should have been recognized.

“I just don’t think what I do in public life measures up to anything like what some of the volunteers in our community (do).”

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns received the award through a nomination by local Members of Parliament. As with others, Ranns later learned the FCM was also planning to award him the medal, not realizing he already had one.

“I guess they got stuck with a whole bunch of medals. … I don’t know,” Ranns said with a laugh. “My council put me in for it, and people I’ve got respect for approved it, so that’s all that’s important to me.”

A list of all Diamond Jubilee medal recipients will be released by the Governor General’s office later this spring.

Just Posted

National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations draw hundreds

Premier John Horgan joins ceremony at Royal Roads University

Police call off search for missing kayaker in East Sooke

The investigation is now considered a missing person case

Large Oak Bay tree dies after possible poisoning

Police and district investigate after large chestnut tree’s rapid decline

Emergency crews aid injured man at Thetis Lake Park

Crews transport patient back to main beach by boat

Dead geese near Esquimalt Lagoon draws ire of resident

City says ‘several’ geese struck by vehicles recently

VIDEO: B.C.’s ‘unicycle cowboy’ aspires to be rancher one day

Burklan Johnson has only ridden a horse once, but this unicyclist has big plans to become a cowboy.

Rescued Oregon family simply unprepared for adventure, RCMP say

Agencies now helping the group of four get to their destination in Alaska

Canucks release 2018-19 season schedule

Vancouver to face Calgary Flames on Wednesday, Oct. 3, for home opener

VIDEO: Luxury Home and Design Show opens with Italian flare

Event set to run Friday to Sunday at BC Place in Vancouver

Small new charge on BC Hydro bills goes toward new crisis fund

The new fund aims to help customers who find themselves in financial emergencies

UPDATED: Crown appeals B.C. polygamous leader’s acquittal in child bride case

James Oler had been charged with taking his underage daughter to the U.S. to marry her off

Fake cops ‘arrest’ woman, steal $6,000 in latest CRA scam

Vancouver police urge people not take calls from anyone saying they’re from the Canada Revenue Agency

Suspect identified in Dollar Tree robbery

Security footage and witness statements lead to identification

Study shows increase in mountain bike tourism in B.C.

Numbers are up, way up, for bike-related visits to the province

Most Read