Governor-General Michaelle Jean outraged many Canadians on June 29 by announcing the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes to the Order of Canada. Hawkes is not only the longstanding pastor of Toronto’s Metropolitan Community Church, but also one of the foremost gay activists in Canada and a leading proponent of same-sex “marriage.”

Several critics of the appointment directed their ire at Prime Minister Stephen Harper. However, in making appointments to the Order of Canada, the governor-general does not act upon the advice of the prime minister, but rather on the recommendations of an independent advisory council headed by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada.

In addition to McLachlin, the advisory council includes five other ex-officio members, as well as five temporary members who are nominated by the ex-officio members and appointed by the governor-general. Only two members – the clerk of the Privy Council and the deputy minister of the Department of Canadian Heritage – are accountable to the Harper cabinet.

The appointment of Hawkes is not the only recent controversy engendered by the Order of Canada. In February, Jean conferred the honour on Michele Landsberg, a radical feminist, left-wing journalist and one of the most notorious proponents of abortion-on-demand in Canada.

Moreover, Jean and the advisory committee considered Landsberg worthy to serve not just as an ordinary member, but as an officer of the Order of Canada. Four years earlier, Landsberg’s husband, Stephen Lewis, the former leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party and the first elected politician to call for the decriminalization of abortion, was appointed to the highest rank of Companion of the Order of Canada.

In the latest notice of appointments, both former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning were also designated Companions of the Order of Canada. In Manning’s case, the distinction is well deserved and most exceptional. Over the past 40 years, few of the social activists among the more than 5,000 Canadians who have been appointed to the Order of Canada have been social conservatives. The overwhelming majority have been liberals and left-wingers.

Notably missing from the ranks of the Order of Canada are such distinguished Canadians as Jim Hughes, national leader of Campaign Life Coalition; Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women of Canada; William Gairdner, author, professor, philanthropist and champion of the natural family; and Dr. L. L. (Barrie) deVeber, who, among a long list of distinctions, is president of the Euthanasia Coalition of Ontario and founding president of the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research.

It’s appropriate that many recipients of the Order of Canada are ordinary Canadians who have been recognized for “a lifetime of distinguished service in or to a particular community, group or field of activity.” Who, though, could better qualify for such a distinction than Joanne Dieleman, a former director of Aid to Women, a crisis pregnancy centre located next to an abortuary in downtown Toronto? Despite having eight children of her own and caring for innumerable foster children, Dieleman, who has been nominated for the Order of Canada, found the time and energy over the past 25 years to provide counselling, as well as emotional and financial assistance to women troubled by a crisis pregnancy. During 19 of these years, she served as the unpaid director of Aid to Women. Altogether, she is credited with helping save the lives of 1,500 babies.

That Dieleman and others like her have not been named to the Order of Canada is scandalous. At the least, the House of Commons government operations committee should bring McLachlin and her colleagues on the advisory council to account before an open hearing and grill them on their biased recommendations for Order of Canada appointments. Most especially, members of the committee should admonish the advisory council to stop discriminating against distinguished Canadians who uphold the sanctity of human life.

Of course, given the dominance of transgressive liberals and leftists in Parliament, no such hearing is likely any time soon. Regardless, it is also certain that the failure of the governor-general to appoint principled Canadians like Dieleman to the Order of Canada in recognition of their outstanding service will in no way impair their heroic determination to go on fulfilling their duty to do the right as God gives them to see the right.