Winnipeg native David Matas has been appointed a member of the Order of Canada for his contributions to human rights legislation as well as to immigration and refugee law. (The Epoch Times)
Winnipeg human rights lawyer David Matas has been appointed a member of the Order of Canada, the office of Governor General Michaëlle Jean announced Tuesday.
Mr. Matas received the award, Canada’s highest civilian honour, for his contributions to human rights legislation as well as to immigration and refugee law.
He was one of 42 new appointees to the Order of Canada, established in 1967 to recognize those who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to Canadian society.
Born in Winnipeg in 1943, Mr. Matas obtained a B.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1964 before pursuing further studies at Princeton University and receiving his legal education at Oxford, England. He has practiced in the arena of human rights, immigration and refugee law since the 1979.
Mr. Matas was a member of the Canadian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in 1980 and to the United Nations Conference on an International Criminal Court in 1998. He also taught law at McGill University and at the University of Manitoba.
In recent years, the lauded human rights defender served organizations such as Amnesty International and B’nai Brith Canada. Along with former MP David Kilgour, Mr. Matas co-authored Bloody Harvest, a report on the illicit harvesting of the organs of Falun Gong practitioners by the communist authorities in China.
With Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam (They desire a better country) as its motto, the Order of Canada has three levels of membership – member, officer and companion. The new appointees include four companions, 14 officers and 42 members.
Former Boston Bruin Willie O’Ree, 73, known as the Jackie Robinson of hockey and the NHL’s first black player, was also among those appointed as a member.
The four new companions appointed are singer Celine Dion, tenor Ben Heppner, entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter Munk, and Stephen Jarislowski for his contributions as a leader in Canada’s investment sector.
Recipients will receive their insignia at a ceremony to be held in the near future. A full list of the recipients can be found at www.gg.ca