Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gruending On Gerwing And Morgentaler

Dennis Gruending discusses a decision by the family of Alphonse Gerwing (specifically, his nephew and sister) to return the man's Order of Canada medal over Henry Morgentaler's being made a recipient of the same medal:

I don’t know how it was decided that Al’s Order of Canada medal should be returned. Al never married so there was no immediate family to make such a decision, but at least one relative has expressed his displeasure with what has happened. Jim Gerwing, a former Benedictine monk at the monastery near Humboldt, wrote a letter to The Globe and Mail on July 23. “The Order of Canada was not given to the Gerwing family,” he said, “and they have absolutely no right to return it simply because they disagree with the fact that Henry Morgentaler is also a recipient. Canada should not accept the return of such an honour unless it is explicitly written into the deceased person’s will.”

It does sound as though Alphonse Gerwing was pro-life. But there is a long leap of reasoning from that fact to the conclusion that he himself would have wanted his snowflake returned. Preston Manning, after all, has kept his.

And here is Jim Gerwing's letter in its entirety. I agree that the families of Order of Canada recipients should not be able to exploit a medal they are not entitled to in order to score political points.

2 comments:

BOMBOVA said...

To your readers,
Dennis :
I would like to be on page with you , in support of the following.

” We did agree that it is essential to support women and families in every way possible – including the provision of adequate child care, housing, increased minimum wages and improved maternity and paternity leaves. ”

As to the paradox of speaking for the dead. I can only speculate that Al’s thoughts would be of engaging the moral and ethical ideas of members of the Order of Canada in his work in Brazil.

Al Gerwing would not diminish the contributions of
Dr. Morgentaler: but only debate their effectiveness as social construction tools in Canadian’s helpful work in Haiti and Brazil.

Motives, Convictions and expressed thoughts, are part of inclusiveness in a democratic society. In this we all can be thankful. rtg. yvr.ca
Ralph T. Gerwing Vancouver Metro

Paul S said...

BCL says:
"I agree that the families of Order of Canada recipients should not be able to exploit a medal they are not entitled to in order to score political points."

Well, when the Order of Canada is not awarded to score political points as Morgentaler's was, we'll talk.

And if Al Gerwing's sister believes it is appropriate to return her deceased brother's medal, I will take her word over the opinion of a casual acquaintance.