© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
This year’s recipients of the Order of Prince Edward Island have been announced, but for one of the three honourees, the cat has long been out of the bag.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Heather Moyse will receive the 2014 Order of P.E.I. award alongside Wayne Hambly of Charlottetown and Wade MacLauchlan of West Covehead.
These three individuals were selected from a total of 44 Islanders nominated to receive the award this year.
But Moyse has already been named a recipient of this award.
Premier Robert Ghiz made the announcement during a rally in March, well before nominations for the award had closed. This drew a slew of criticism, including from the chair of the Order of P.E.I. Advisory Council, who said at the time proper procedures as laid out in law were not followed.
The premier is not normally involved in the nomination process, except to endorse the advisory council’s selections every year.
Since then, Ghiz introduced amendments to the legislation that will allow the advisory council to submit a selected nominee to the premier’s office at any time during the year.
The lieutenant-governor would then automatically and immediately approve this nomination.
This would have allowed Moyse to receive her Order of P.E.I. award back in March, when Ghiz first announced it.
Those amendments passed and received Royal Assent in June.
The changes fix what Ghiz said was a problem wherein the Order of P.E.I. committee could not react more immediately for special circumstances.
The other two recipients of the 2014 Order of P.E.I. are also well-known Islanders who have made a number of noteworthy contributions to the province.
Hambly is probably best known for his role as a business owner, but has also had a long career of volunteering and charitable work in the community. In addition, he has served for years as board chairman of the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
He was recently named to the Order of Canada.
MacLauchlan, an Order of Canada member since 2008, worked for more than a decade as the president of the University of P.E.I. He also has made prolific contributions in advocacy and fundraising work.
The Order of P.E.I. is awarded to recognize Islanders who have shown individual excellence or outstanding leadership in their community and in their chosen occupation or profession.
It is the highest honour that can be accorded to a citizen of the province. It is awarded annually following a public nomination process with recipients being selected by an independent nine-person advisory council each year.
Insignia of the Order will be presented by the lieutenant-governor at a special investiture ceremony in September at Government House in Charlottetown.