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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Prince Albert judge appointed Officer of the Order of Canada

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Prince Albert judge appointed Officer of the Order of Canada
(Herald file photo)

What do hockey star Sidney Crosby, comedian Rich Little, and Prince Albert judge Gerald M. Morin all have in common?

All three are now officers of the Order of Canada.

Morin was the first judge in Saskatchewan who spoke Cree, and a trailblazer who helped setup Canada’s first Cree circuit court in 2001. On Thursday, he was one of 31 people named as officers of the Order of Canada. He is one of only three Saskatchewan residents who were named as officers. The others are researchers Gordon John Glenn Asmundson of Regina, and Ivar Mendez of Saskatoon.

“What a beautiful way to end the year, honouring Order of Canada appointees and learning about the depth and range of their accomplishments,” Governor General Mary Simon said in a press release. “Celebrated trailblazers in their respective fields, they are inspiring, educating and mentoring future generations, creating a foundation of excellence in our country that is respected throughout the world. Their commitment to the betterment of Canada fills me with pride and hope for the future.”

A member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, Morin was born and raised in Cumberland House, but left to compete high school in Nipawin. He attained his certificate in social work from the University of Regina in 1978, and returned to the U of R in 1987 to get his law degree.

Morin practices law at the Padila-Morin Law Office in Prince Albert, and argued cases at all levels of court, including the Surpreme Court.

Morin became the first Indigenous person to receive a Queen’s council designation in 1999, and was appointing to the provincial court in January 2001. He remained there until he retired in 2019.

Upon retiring, Morin told the CBC he believed setting up Cree speaking court circuits changed the perception northern residents had of the justice system.

“When I talk to people, they open up,” he told the CBC.

 In addition to the 31 officers, the Office of the Governor General announced two new companions of the Order of Canada on Thursday. Businessman John Louis Bragg of Nova Scotia and actor/comedian Eugene Levy of Ontario were elevated to companions.

he Order of Canada is one of our country’s highest honours. It recognizes people across all sectors of society who have made extraordinary and sustained contributions to the country.

Appointments are made by the governor general on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada.

Recipients will receive their insignia during a formal ceremony at a later date.