News Release - September 29, 2000
EIGHT CITIZENS RECEIVE PROVINCE'S TOP HONOUR
Lieutenant Governor Lynda Haverstock announced today the recipients of the
Saskatchewan Order of Merit, the province's top honour, for the millennium
year. The Order of Merit recognizes outstanding contributions in the arts,
business, the professions, research, education, community leadership and public
"It is my sincere privilege to announce this year's recipients. They represent
the best of Saskatchewan, the pinnacle of community and professional service.
This group of distinguished men and women has sustained a Saskatchewan
tradition of excellence and service that exemplifies our province's spirit and
breadth of talent," the Lieutenant Governor said.
"The millennium recipients illustrate the diversity and high calibre of
nominations received for this prestigious honour."
This is the first year that a posthumous honour has been given, to world and
Olympic champion curler Sandra Schmirler.
The other recipients are: the Honourable Allan Blakeney, former Saskatchewan
Premier and current professor of law at the University of Saskatchewan; Lorne
Dietrick, a leader in the co-operative movement; Bill Hanson, a respected
consultant for Aboriginal issues; Robert Hinitt, a long-time leader in amateur
theatre in Saskatoon; Ruth Horlick, renowned for her community service in
mental health; Dr. Krishna Kumar, a nationally and internationally renowned
neurosurgeon in Regina; and Fred Wagman, responsible for helping to bring cable
television to Saskatchewan and for spearheading community involvement in local
The Saskatchewan Honours Advisory Council reviews nominations and recommends
the recipients. Council chair is Ted Turner of Regina. Other members are the
Chief Justice of Saskatchewan, the Clerk of the Executive Council, the
President of the University of Regina, the Provincial Archivist, and five
members from the community.
The Lieutenant Governor will bestow the Saskatchewan Order of Merit on the
recipients at an investiture ceremony on October 26, 2000 in Regina.
For more information, contact:
Michael Jackson, Secretary
Saskatchewan Honours Advisory Council
Phone: (306) 787-3109
Please note: Biographies and telephone numbers of recipients are attached. All
recipients are willing to be interviewed. Photos of the recipients are
The Honourable Allan Blakeney
Allan Blakeney was premier of Saskatchewan from 1971 to 1982. He now resides
in Saskatoon, where he is at the College of Law at the University of
Born in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, in 1925.
Law degree from Dalhousie University and Rhodes Scholar 1947-49.
Joined the public service of Saskatchewan in 1950.
Practised law in Regina 1958-60 and 1964-70.
Elected to Saskatchewan Legislature as CCF member in 1960, serving until
retirement in 1988.
Served as Minister of Education (1960-61), Provincial Treasurer (1961-62),
Minister of Public Health (1962-64).
Elected leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party in 1970.
Leader of the Opposition 1970-71 and 1982-87.
Premier of Saskatchewan 1971-82.
Taught law at York University, Toronto, 1988-90, and at University of
Recipient of honorary degrees from six Canadian universities.
Appointed to Queen's Privy Council for Canada in 1982.
Officer of the Order of Canada, 1992.
Commissioner on Royal Commission for Aboriginal Peoples, 1991-93.
Advisor on institutions of federalism to Russia and South Africa.
Past president of the World Federalists of Canada.
Current president of Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Telephone (306) 966-5881 (College of Law, Saskatoon)
Lorne Dietrick is a long-time leader in the co-operative movement and a pioneer
in co-op farming. Now retired, he lives on the Matador Farm near Kyle.
Born in Saskatoon in 1915.
First manager of the LeRoy Co-operative Association, 1939-41.
Served in the Royal Canadian Navy, 1943-45.
Diploma in agriculture, 1946.
Helped establish the Matador Co-operative Farm in 1946 for returning war
veterans; served as first chairman of Matador.
Led organization of Saskatchewan Federation of Production Co-operatives in
1948; first chairman 1948-1967.
Active in Canada-China Friendship association; visited China four times to
study co-operatives and advise on farming methods.
Established Canada-China farmers' exchange program in 1979.
Coached baseball and hockey in Kyle.
Active in the community, including the Royal Canadian Legion and Seniors'
Served on the rural life committee of the United Church.
Telephone (306) 375-2878 (Kyle)
Bill Hanson has been a leader in promoting Aboriginal employment and is an
authority on cross-cultural issues. Retired from the federal public service,
he lives in Saskatoon.
Born in Cormorant Lake, Manitoba, in 1925.
Served from 1943 to 1946 in the Royal Canadian Air Force in Britain,
Belgium and Norway.
Trained in diesel engineering at Manitoba Technical Institute in Winnipeg.
Police officer in The Pas, one of the first Aboriginal constables in
Joined federal public service in 1954. Youngest manager in the National
Employment Service and the only one of Aboriginal ancestry.
Northern Saskatchewan area manager for Canada Employment & Immigration.
Advisor on Aboriginal issues for Department of Regional Economic Expansion.
Consultant on cross-cultural issues since retirement from public service
Co-ordinator of Interprovincial Association on Native Employment Inc.
Bill Hanson Award established in his honour by IANE in 1994-95.
Author of handbook "Dual Realities - Dual Strategies" on future paths of
Aboriginal peoples development.
Active in race relations committee of City of Saskatoon.
Telephone (306) 374-0288 (Saskatoon)
Retired French and drama teacher Robert Hinitt has devoted much of his life to
amateur theatre in Saskatchewan. He lives in Saskatoon.
Born in Winnipeg in 1926.
Attended University of Saskatchewan, Laval University, and Sorbonne, Paris.
Teacher of French at City Park and Aden Bowman collegiates in Saskatoon.
Inspired students to pursue studies in French and theatre.
Known for dedication to spirit and morale of school and students.
Founded drama department at Aden Bowman, which has led students to careers
in the performing arts; instrumental in building Castle Theatre at the
Renowned for his talent in theatre direction, acting, sets and costumes.
Founding member of Saskatoon Gateway Players and Saskatoon Summer Players.
First board chair of Persephone Theatre, professional theatre company in
Responsible for annual graduation decorations at Aden Bowman.
Christmas wonderland displays at his home for 50 years to raise funds for
Well known for garden displays, ice sculptures and parade floats.
Received Canada Council Fellowship to study and observe at Stratford – 1961
First CFQC citizen of the year in 1967.
Member of the Order of Canada, 1982
Telephone (306) 343-6328 (Saskatoon)
Dr. Krishna Kumar
Dr. Krishna Kumar, a neurosurgeon who has practised in Regina for 38 years, is
a leader in neurosurgical procedures, especially for the treatment of
Born in Jabular, India, in 1931. Medical studies in India.
Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada (neurosurgery), 1961.
Clinical professor, University of Saskatchewan; has encouraged students
and residents to enter field of neurosurgery.
Chair, medical board, Workers' Compensation Board of Saskatchewan, for 20
Member of Senate, University of Regina.
One of two neurosurgeons in Canada performing complex neurosurgical
procedures for treatment of Parkinson's disease and chronic pain.
Internationally-known expert and speaker in pain management.
Responsible for bringing magnetic imaging resonance unit to Regina Health
Acquired Stealth Navigational System for computer-directed surgery, the
most sophisticated of its kind in Canada.
Neurosurgical procedures televised on national networks.
Author of numerous scientific papers and articles on neurosurgery, chronic
pain treatment and Parkinson's disease.
Quality Improvement Award, Saskatchewan Medical Association and
Saskatchewan College of Physicians & Surgeons, 1996.
Founding member of south Saskatchewan Hindu temple in Regina.
Telephone (306) 586-8189 (Regina)
Ruth Horlick has made a major contribution to psychiatric nursing and has been
an exceptional community volunteer in Saskatoon.
Born in 1919 in Toronto, moved to Saskatoon in 1954.
Educated at Queen's University and Montreal General Hospital School of
Nursing, with post-graduate training in psychiatric nursing in Washington,
Student counselling and psychiatric group therapy at the University of
Helped form the Association for Children with Learning Disabilities.
Volunteer tutor at the Regional Psychiatric Centre, Canadian Penitentiary
Board member of Crocus Co-op for ex-psychiatric patients and Saskatoon
Housing Coalition for psychiatric patients.
Honorary patron of the Saskatoon Crisis Nursery.
Served as president of the University Hospital Auxiliary.
First president of Saskatoon Symphony Volunteers.
Board member of Meewasin Foundation.
National Volunteer Award in 1988.
YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in 1989.
Telephone (306) 652-8863 (Saskatoon)
Sandra Schmirler, the greatest curler in the history of women's curling, led
her team to an Olympic gold medal in 1998. She is the first posthumous
appointment to the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.
Born in Biggar in 1963. Died in Regina in March 2000, at the age of 36.
Showed superior ability from a young age in education and athletics: speed
swimming, volleyball, badminton and curling.
Degree in physical education from the University of Saskatchewan, 1985.
Employed for 16 years by the City of Regina in the area of community
With team members Jan Betker, Joan McCusker, Marcia Gudereit, Anita Ford
and Atina Ford, Sandra was skip of record-breaking women's curling teams.
Sandra won six provincial women's curling titles and three Canadian and
world curling championships (1993, 1994, 1997), and was skip of the only
Canadian team to win three world championships.
Made Olympic history in Nagano, Japan, in 1998 by winning first women's
curling gold medal.
Team voted Canadian Press team of the year in 1998.
Team inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 1999.
Team to be inducted into Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in November 2000.
Known as an ambassador for curling, community leader and role model for
Telephone, husband Shannon England: (306)787-1124 (office); 569-9737 (res.)
Fred Wagman, recently retired as president and CEO of Access Communications in
Regina, has been a pioneer in cable television and local television production.
Born in 1937 in Regina; educated at the Universities of Alberta and
Began broadcasting career in 1957 with CK Television in Regina.
President and CEO of Cable Regina television co-operative in 1975.
Cable Regina began broadcasting in 1978 with 6 television channels.
Now known as Access Communications, it is the seventh-largest cable
company in Canada, with over 70 television channels and Internet and other
Under Mr. Wagman's leadership Access has given priority to community
programming and supported numerous volunteer groups and charitable causes,
including Access Communications Children's Fund.
President of Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club in 1996 and 1997.
Chair of board of directors of Canadian Cable Television Association, 1998-
Member of honour list of Canadian Cable Television Association.
101st president of Regina Chamber of Commerce.
Initiated annual Access Communications/Great West Life golf tournament to
rise funds for equipment in Regina hospitals.
Access Communications/Fred Wagman Scholarship established in his honour
for students in film and video program at University of Regina.
Telephone (306) 751-0989 (Regina)