The area’s federal and provincial politicians are looking for residents who exemplify what it means to be Canadian; 150 of them, in fact – one for every year since Confederation.
Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris and his federal counterpart, MP Harold Albrecht, are asking their constituents to take a look at their neighbours and their contributions to the community, nominating worthy recipients for special Canada 150 awards the two have put together.
“Harold and I both talk about the fact that we represent one of the best ridings in the province, if not Canada as well, and we have such a special, special community made special by the people that contribute back to it, and we want to take this opportunity to say thank to 150 great Canadians,” said Harris. “We are celebrating people in a variety of different sectors, whether you are a caregiver, a first responder, a community builder, even a youth or a senior, their contribution locally makes our country great.”
Nominations fall under 15 different categories: agriculture, arts, culture and heritage, caregivers, community builders, educators, entrepreneurs, faith in action, first responders, good neighbours, legions and ladies/youth auxiliaries, older adults, service clubs, sports and recreation, youth and students, and if a nomination fits into more than one category or none of those, there is the ‘other’ category. There is some wiggle room, Harris suggests.
“We feel that as the elected representatives both federally and provincially, in this community, we wanted to have a venue that could properly recognize and say thank you to those people who make Canada great. We have been pleasantly surprised with the quality of the people who have been nominated so far,” said Harris, adding that nominations must come from the confines of the Kitchener-Conestoga riding. “We will leave it to our other colleagues provincially and federally to do that for their own riding. We have had interest from our colleagues as to the program that we are doing. This is an initiative done by Harold and myself, but we would hope that other communities can pick up on this as well, but our focus is on the people that live within our riding.”
Nomination forms are on both Harris’ and Albrecht’s websites, and require at least two letters of reference for the nominee describing why the individual or organization is deserving of the recognition.
The presentation of Kitchener-Conestoga’s top 150 citizens will take place on Aug. 1 at Castle Kilbride in Baden where the 150 nominees will receive a token of their contribution to the constituency.
“We have gone out and gotten a nice coin specifically made with this honour in mind and Canada 150. We would like to think that this is going to be a special opportunity to just say thanks,” said Harris. “A lot of folks, they don’t expect this recognition, but we think it is important to do so, especially on Canada’s 150th birthday.”
Harris wants to encourage as many nominations as possible before the big day in August. So far, he says they have received upwards of 100 forms.
To download the nomination form, visit Harris’ site at www.michaelharrismpp.ca/canada-150, or Harold Albrecht’s site at www.haroldalbrechtmp.ca. The forms are also available by calling either constituency office.