Petition Seeks National Honour for Downie

It’s one thing to say Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip are national treasures. A group of broadcasters is trying to make it official.

On Thursday, Central Ontario Broadcasting, a group of three radio stations, began a petition to Governor General David Johnston, seeking to secure the Order of Canada for Downie.

“From his songwriting to environmental activism, Gord Downie embodies what it means to be Canadian,” states the petition, created by Indie88 Toronto, Rock 95 and 1075 KoolFM in Barrie. “Along with all The Tragically Hip band members, he’s had a profound impact not just on the world of music, but on Canadian culture as well.”

The Order of Canada was established in 1967 by Queen Elizabeth II and is the second highest honour to be presented to a citizen by the queen in the system of orders, decorations and medals. The distinction was created to recognize “the outstanding merit or distinguished service of Canadians who make a major difference to Canada through lifelong contributions in every field of endeavour, as well as the efforts by non-Canadians who have made the world better by their actions,” according to a Wikipedia entry on the honour. More than 6,500 people have been appointed to the Order of Canada since 1967, including scientists, musicians, artists, athletes, performers, politicians and others.

 

 

As of Friday night, more than 44,000 people have signed the petition, which as an established goal of 50,000 signatures before it will be submitted to Johnston.

Among the comments submitted by supporters:

“His music is our shared Canadian experience through songs like ‘Wheat Kings,’ ‘Nautical Disaster,’ ‘Bobcaygeon,’ ‘Fifty Mission Cap,’ just to name a few,” writes Karim Mosna of Hamilton, Ont.

“Gord Downie epitomizes what it means to be Canadian: creative, charitable, fun-loving, patriotic and HIP! Many of his songs reference Canada, from our prairies, to our love of hockey, to our history. He is an extraordinary artist and a truly great Canadian. He deserves this great honour,” says Amy Conron of Bracebridge, Ont.

“It would likely have happened at some point, but since the time is short, now’s the time. I would prefer that the entire group receive it, since it was a collaborative effort, and it would be a wonderful moment for Gord to share with his bandmates,” suggests Collin Doyle of Winnipeg, Man.

 “As an expat living in Australia, there are few things that bring me back to my Canadian childhood. The theme song to Hockey Night in Canada is one, Timmies is another, but Gord Downie’s voice is by far the most symbolic,” writes Angie Richards, now in Mitchelton, Australia. “From belting it out with my cousins on road trips to Wasaga Beach, playing every album when we used to drive from Toronto to NL for Christmas holidays, and hearing his tunes while grocery shopping, getting gas or just passing a neighbour’s house, the Hip is the audio fabric that holds together my sense of Canadian identity. Honour Gord as I do everyday!”
 Plenty of other fans expressed their disbelief that Downie, and the whole band, haven’t already received the recognition.
To sign the petition, click here.

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

One thought on “Petition Seeks National Honour for Downie

  • May 30, 2016 at 9:51 am
    Permalink

    That’s great, but did they actually do the paperwork and NOMINATE him? The Order of Canada has process and people aren’t inducted by petition…

    Reply

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