Canadians are well aware that aside from the Order of Merit, there is no higher honor that a citizen can get than to be admitted into the Order of Canada. It not only requires that recipients demonstrate lifelong contributions to the improvement of their nation aptly stated in Latin as “desiderantes meliorem patriam”, but also a recommendation by a board of advisors reporting to the governor general on behalf of the Queen of Canada. Members of this prestigious order are usually Canadians, but some non-Canadians may also be admitted if their contributions substantially improve the world.
With that understanding in mind, it should come as no surprise that when Jim Cuddy, leader of the Canadian country rock band Blue Rodeo, received his membership into the Order of Canada, he was moved to tears. Governor General David Johnston thanked him personally during the ceremony last night. Greg Keelor, the group’s songwriter, was also inducted with Cuddy into the order. Both men are now officers of the Order.
In all, 90 people were introduced into the Order including 34-year-old Toronto native and actress Sarah Polley. Retired Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps and former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Don Mazankowski were both promoted to Companions of the Order of Canada which is highest possible honor.
As for Cuddy and Keelor, the award comes two months after the 20th anniversary of the release of their epic album “Five Days in July”. That album went on to become the band’s biggest selling record. As of the year 2008, the record had been certified platinum six times. The honor comes at a good time for songwriter and guitarist Greg Keelor who had to retire from performing with the band earlier this year. The years of live performances have taken their toll on his hearing.