By John Jalsevac

  OTTAWA, Ontario, July 11, 2007 ( – Earlier this month one of Canada’s most prominent pro-homosexual activists was awarded the highest honor that can be given to a Canadian citizen-the Order of Canada. Natural marriage defenders have been especially disturbed that the supposedly pro-traditional marriage conservative government does not appear to have made any effort to stop the award and has shown total reluctance to comment on the award or distance themselves from it.

  Rev. Brent Hawkes, a minister at the Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto, gained notoriety by flouting Canadian law and illegally “marrying” a homosexual couple in 2001, and then subsequently pushing homosexual “marriage” on Canada through the back-door of the judiciary. Hawkes’ congregation in downtown Toronto is composed largely of homosexuals, and Hawkes has spent his life promoting homosexuality as a normative, legitimate lifestyle. 

  He was made a member of the Order of Canada this year for “a lifetime of distinguished service” to “social service.”

  While the process by which Canadians are nominated and chosen for the distinction is officially non-partisan, Brian Rushfeldt, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Canada Family Action Coalition (CFAC), pointed out to in an interview from last week that even still the fact that the award was given while the Conservatives were in power will not sit well with Canadian conservatives.

“The fact that we continue to reward activists that are undermining the conservative values and the conservative value base is not going to fare well,” said Rushfeldt. “Even if it was not something that that the government itself or the prime minister or a minister of the department would or could step into, for the governor general to approve this kind of an award is clearly an indication that she herself is in support of undermining marriage, the very essence and foundation of our society. And obviously the conservative government did nothing to change that or stop it.”

  After LifeSiteNews published the first story about the award several readers e-mailed Conservative MPs to complain about the awarding of the honor to a man who so clearly stands in direct opposition to the basic values of the Conservative supporter base. Several responses from Conservative MPs to readers informed them that the award was given by the governor general on the advice of a non-partisan Advisory Council, and not by the Conservative government itself.

  A representative for one Conservative MP told a LifeSiteNews reader that “bestowing this honour on Mr. Hawkes is both sad and inappropriate.”

  However, while it is true that there is no officially partisan influence in the awarding of the Order of Canada, the story is not quite as straight-forward as that.

  Gwen Landolt, co-founder of REAL women of Canada, a grassroots conservative organization working for equal rights for all women, has done extensive research into the nature and history of the Order of Canada, including going through the lists of past Order of Canada recipients, and profiling them according to their core values.

  Landolt told LifeSiteNews that most of the people on the selection committee are previous winners of the Order of Canada. She says “we have mostly left-wing feminists, homosexuals and environmentalists who previously got in under the Liberals and they’re merely going along appointing reflections of themselves.

  In 2001 Landolt put together an in depth report on the Order of Canada, which argued that the award is far from non-partisan. ( 

“Even though politics is not supposed to be involved in the selection process, this is not the case,” wrote Landolt at the time. “The Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet (who is answerable to Prime Minister Chrétien) and the Deputy Minister of the Department of Canadian Heritage (who is answerable to his Minister, (at that time Sheila Copps) both sit on the Advisory Committee and assuredly act in accordance with directions from their respective bosses.”

  At least one of the members of the current 11-member council—Kevin Lynch, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet-was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and answers directly to the PM. Landolt says that “Lynch is personally answerable to Mr. Harper and if Harper didn’t know what was going on with the Hawkes appointment, the question is – why not?” Another member of the council-Judith A. LaRocque, C.V.O., Deputy Minister, Canadian Heritage-also answers to the PM. 

  Further, one representative at the Governor-General’s office, while restating that the Prime Minister does not have the direct power to veto the naming of any nominee as a recipient of the order of Canada, did admit to LifeSiteNews that if the Prime Minister strongly took issue with any nominee, their nomination would certainly undergo a much more rigorous scrutiny.

  Nevertheless, it is questionable whether the Prime Minister or the Conservative Party could have directly prevented Hawkes from being named as a member of the Order of Canada. contacted the Prime Minister’s office to find out what the Prime Minister’s thoughts were on the awarding of the Order of Canada to Brent Hawkes, and whether the PM would be willing to distance himself from Hawkes. The Prime Minister’s office was sent and confirmed the receipt of the following questions:

“1) Did the Conservative Party representatives on the Order of Canada Advisory Council agree to the award to recent recipient Brent Hawkes?

  2) Is the Conservative Party or the PMO or the PM himself able to veto a nomination to the Order?


  3) Since many Conservatives were very offended by the actions of Brent Hawkes, is the Conservative Party willing to distance itself from the award to him?”

  Subsequent conversations with representatives of Rideau Hall answered the second question-no, the PM cannot veto a nomination to the Order. The Prime Minister’s office, however, after repeated requests, did not respond to the questions or distance the PM and the party from the awarding of the Order to Hawkes. It only repeated that the award is given by the Governor-General, and not by the Prime Minister.

  Gwen Landolt concluded that the Conservatives have got to start changing the culture in this country, but they certainly don’t seem to be doing that.

  Meanwhile, yesterday in British Canada, the Order of Canada was given to yet another prominent Canadian homosexual activist – lesbian author Jane Vance Rule. The official citation states “Rule broke new ground in Canadian literature as one of the first writers to populate her novels with homosexual as well as heterosexual characters. Her 1964 novel, Desert of the Heart, which tells the love story of two women, is considered a masterpiece and was later adapted for film.”