Chilliwack garden entrepreneur Brian Minter, Delta human rights crusader Mary Kitagawa and long-time politician and environmentalist David Anderson of Victoria are among 14 prominent people inducted into the Order of British Columbia this year.
“These exceptional recipients are pillars of our communities who have demonstrated excellence and distinction in their fields,” said Lt. Gov. Janet Austin, announcing the 2018 recipients Saturday.
“I wish to extend my thanks to all new members for their commitment to meaningful work that leaves a lasting legacy, which benefits and elevates our province for future generations.”
Here are this year’s inductees:
David Anderson, Victoria
• David Anderson won a silver medal for Canada at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, then went on to a career as MP for Esquimalt-Saanich, where he was instrumental in establishing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling that remains in place in B.C. Anderson switched to provincial politics in 1973, where he continued his environmental work and became the leader of the B.C. Liberal Party. In 1993, he returned to Ottawa as MP for Victoria, holding federal cabinet posts including transport, national revenue, fisheries and oceans and environment.
Brian Minter, Chilliwack
• Brian Minter is an award-winning horticulturalist and entrepreneur, who has provided inspiration to British Columbians on what is possible in the field of horticulture through the family’s innovative garden centre, the acclaimed 13-hectare (32-acre) Minter Garden, in addition to books, garden columns and regular television and radio appearances. In addition to his gardening expertise, Minter has been the board chair and the first chancellor of the University of the Fraser Valley, and has played a key role in the economic and social betterment of the Fraser Valley, the City of Chilliwack and the University of the Fraser Valley.
Mary Kitagawa, Delta
• Mary Kitagawa is an educator and human rights crusader who facilitated a shift in public consciousness by bringing the realities of the Japanese Canadian internment experience to the public through her media interviews and tireless educating, speaking and lobbying of government organizations. Kitagawa and her family were among the more than 22,000 Canadians of Japanese descent incarcerated during the Second World War. As a result of the injustices her family endured, she became an advocate for human rights, maintaining a sustained focus to raise the problem of injustice due to racism and intolerance.
Deborah Abbey, New Westminster
• Deborah Abbey of New Westminster is an author, media spokesperson and champion for responsible and sustainable investing. Through her leadership of the Responsible Investment Association, she has inspired some of the largest financial institutions in Canada to integrate environmental, social and corporate governance factors into the selection and management of their investments, providing superior risk-adjusted returns and positive societal impact.
Dominic Cuccione, Port Moody
• Dominic Cuccione of Port Moody is a leading philanthropist, helping to improve treatment for children with cancer and advance pediatric oncology research. Through the Michael Cuccione Foundation, he has raised over $23 million for pediatric oncology research.
Brian Fehr, Prince George
• Brian Fehr of Prince George is the founder of a billion-dollar group of companies — BID Group — that provides innovative technical systems and construction services for wood products industries in B.C., across Canada and into the United States. His work supports many of B.C.’s rural economies. As Fehr built his company, his personal and emotional commitment to the health and well-being of rural B.C. — and in particular Vanderhoof, Prince George, Salmon Arm and Canal Flats — remains strong.
Anne Giardini, Vancouver
• Anne Giardini of Vancouver is chancellor of Simon Fraser University and a celebrated B.C. business leader, board director, lawyer, community advocate and internationally published writer. She had a distinguished career with the Canadian subsidiary of one of the world’s largest international forest products companies, Weyerhaeuser.
Tracey Herbert, Victoria
• Tracey Herbert of Victoria is originally of the St’uxwtews First Nation (Bonaparte Band) in the Thompson Okanagan. She has served in the public service for more than 30 years in the areas of health education, employment, community development and strategic planning. For the past 16 years, she has been instrumental in First Nations language preservation and revitalization in B.C., and led the development of an award-winning exhibit on Indigenous languages of B.C., showing the critical level of endangerment of B.C.’s First Nations’ languages.
Andrew Way Yin Joe, Vsancouver
• Andrew Way Yin Joe of Vancouver is Canada’s first Chinese-Canadian lawyer, who has played pivotal roles in fighting against injustice and racism, especially toward Chinese Canadians, and helped save cultural traditions and the community.
Grand Chieff Percy Joe, Merritt
• Grand Chief Percy Joe of Merritt is a hereditary and elected chief of the Scw’exmx, serving his nation for 47 years until his recent retirement. He is one of the founders of the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology — one of only two schools of its kind in the country governed by Indigenous peoples. A champion of rights and title, he created unique reconciliation partnerships and approaches grounded in traditional knowledge and Indigenous wisdom and governance.
Brenda Martens, Vancouver
• Brenda Martens of Vancouver is a leading sustainability advocate and early adopter of green building practices, who helped transform how buildings are designed and constructed, and helped make over 185,000 square metres (2,000,000 square feet) of built space in B.C. greener, saving water and energy and providing better places for British Columbians to live, work and play.
George Melville, White Rock & Peachland
• George Melville of White Rock and Peachland is chairman and owner of Melville Global Investments Inc., a diversified investment portfolio that includes ownership in Mr. Lube, Naramata Benchland Properties and the SKOOKUM Festival at Stanley Park. Melville has donated many millions of dollars to charities and provincial organizations, and contributes his leadership skills to many institutions. He also co- founded and previously owned the T&M Group, which included Boston Pizza International Inc., and is now the largest owner of trust units in the Boston Pizza Royalties Income Fund.
Bill Millerd, Vancouver
• Bill Millerd of Vancouver has devoted more than four decades to nurturing the growth of professional theatre in British Columbia. Under his leadership, the Arts Club Theatre Company is now the third-largest theatre company in Canada and operates out of the newly built BMO Theatre Centre in the former Olympic Village district.
Casey Newman, Sooke
• Carey Newman is an Indigenous artist, master carver, singer, volunteer and well-known speaker about the spirit of reconciliation. He created the Witness Blanket, a powerful monument to the impact of the residential school era and the healing journey of First Nations.
Recipients of the Order of British Columbia are selected by an independent advisory committee. The 2018 advisory committee consisted of Robert J. Bauman (chair), Chief Justice of British Columbia, Darryl Plecas, speaker of the legislative assembly, Alan Davis, president and vice-chancellor, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Okenge Yuma Morisho, deputy minister, B.C. Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat, Wendy Booth, president, Union of B.C. Municipalities, Rosamund Harrison, Order of British Columbia (OBC), and Wendy Morton, MSM, OBC.