Don Cherry overlooked for Order of Canada once again
Toronto Sun Files
Don Cherry doesn’t need the Order of Canada to validate his importance to Canada — or his love of the country, either.
And that’s a good thing because it doesn’t look like he will ever receive one.
Most involved in the behind-the-scenes, decade-long movement to try to ensure Cherry joins this exclusive club were counting on this being the year he would finally get his due.
Grapes turned 80 in March and Hockey Night in Canada is no longer a CBC entity. Cherry is coming out of an incredible era of national pain where he more than anybody else helped a country grieve and cope with far too many losses in Afghanistan — and among our police and emergency services people, too.
There is still nobody better when it comes to talking hockey which is why Coach’s Corner is one of the most watched shows in TV history.
It just seemed like such a no brainer to finally give in and award the honour to the most deserving Canadian out there.
What a gesture it would have been to have this news come out for Canada Day!
If he can’t have it, who the heck else exemplifies Canada? Well, the committee, which decides such things, have found some.
Cherry’s name has been left off the list.
Sometimes the Order of Canada is used to reward. Sometimes it’s used to punish.
If you are wondering, here are members of the current Order of Canada Committee: The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin PC — Chief Justice of Canada (Chair); Dr. David Barnard, Chair, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada; Dr. Graham Bell, President, Royal Society of Canada; George T.H. Cooper CM QC; Monique F. Leroux CM OQ; H. Sanford Riley CM; Joseph L. Rotman OC, Chair, Canada Council for the Arts; Mary J. May Simon OC OQ; Colleen Swords, deputy minister, Canadian heritage; W. Brett Wilson CM SOM; and Wayne Wouters, clerk of the privy council and secretary to the cabinet.
My suggestion is to add another appointment to this list. A regular Canadian. One that sits in traffic, struggles to pay bills and has no political connections. There are more than 30 million to chose from.
Coach of the Year in the NHL and AHL, on the coaching staff of the 1976 Canada Cup champion, three decades on Hockey Night in Canada and countless acts of charity is not enough — it seems — to be considered a special Canadian by the current group.
Nor is sticking up for freedom of speech or for our warriors.
In hindsight, one must admit the Lib-left has got a few things right over the years. Tommy Douglas’ universal health care is perhaps the best example. But kudos to former prime ministers Pierre Trudeau — for fighting to keeping both order in the streets and Canada together — and Jean Chretien for what turned out to be a sage decision to stay out of the Iraq war.
They have made some grand contributions but the repeated, concerted effort to keep Cherry from being bestowed the Order of Canada is callous, contemptuous and cowardly.
But they have done it again. The left have this one wrong.
Justin “Shaker” Van Dette was devastated.
“I really thought this would be the time,” he said.
But he won’t quit.
“I have put his name up four times and I will do it again or 20 more times if that is what it takes because he deserves it.”
In fact who deserves it more?
Cherry is just as accomplished as many other winners and certainly as a worthy Canadian was past recipients like Dr. Henry Morgantaler, David Suzuki, Valerie Pringle, Sue Johanson, Margaret Atwood or Jean-Daniel Lafond.
But they all have something that it looks the Coach will never have.
It’s not going to change the fact that Canadians from coast to coast think that Cherry being repeatedly snubbed for the Order of Canada is as mean as it is ridiculous.