A Question of Honours and
On the impending release of Karla Homolka from prison, I posted the following letters. Somehow, it seemed appropriate.
July 24, 2003
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson
Governor General of Canada
1 Sussex Drive
It was just a bunch of us sitting around at the cottage on Lac Simon lamenting the fact that the Order of Canada was not much about heroes anymore. The perception seemed to be that the field had been appropriated by politicians and public servants at all levels federal, provincial and municipal the criteria for selection, longevity of service rather than the quality and integrity of that service. Another observed that the honour was sometimes given to polish the tarnished image of a public figure.
The proof presented for the last observation was the nomination of Ottawa Police Chief, Vince Bevan for the honour after the author of Invisible Darkness, Stephen Williams, again criticized the Chief for his inept performance as lead investigator of the murder of Leslie Mahaffy and as head of the Green Ribbon Task Force set up to co-ordinate the efforts of laws enforcement agencies trying to catch the killer after the discovery of Kristen French’s body.
If the author of Invisible Darkness is to be believed then the Chief is also largely responsible for the light sentence given Paul Bernardo’s willing accomplice in the murder of Tammy Lynn Homolka, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. Words fail me when I think you could be granting that honour to Mr. Bevan on the eve of Karla Homolka’s release from prison.
I don’t know Chief Bevan personally, though I do see him on occasion at the coffee shop next to the Ottawa police station. He seems like a decent sort of man but an Order of Canada recipient I don’t think so. In years to come Chief Bevan may prove himself worthy of the honour but not now.
Perhaps next year when we are all sitting about at the cottage at Lac Simon solving the problems of the world we will all be a little less cynical about the state of some Canadian traditions.
August 11, 2003
Dear Mr. Payeur,
Thank you for your letter of July 24, regarding the awarding of a national honour to Ottawa Police Chief Vince Bevan.
Chief Bevan was appointed to the Order of Merit (Police Forces), an Order that was established in 2001. For you reference, I attach information on this Order. I have noted your observations regarding Chief Bevan’s appointment and these will be brought to the attention of the Advisory Committee.
Your interest in the Canadian honours system is most appreciated.
Mary de Bellefeuille-Percy
Director of Honours
The Chancellery of Honours