Change-makers

Community doctor among 5 Order of Nova Scotia recipients

Doctor Margaret Macdonald Casey's contributions rewarded amongst others in environment, economy, childcare and literature

Doctor Margaret Macdonald Casey, with Lieutenant Governor JJ Grant and Premier Stephen MacNeil
Doctor Margaret Macdonald Casey, with Lieutenant Governor J.J. Grant and Premier Stephen McNeil.   Emma Jones

Doctor Margaret Macdonald Casey has dedicated more than 50 years as a medical practitioner and community advocate to provide accessible, empathetic healthcare to Halifax’s north end families.

As she received the Order of Nova Scotia Wednesday, Premier Stephen McNeil praised her work,

“With each Nova Scotian you meet, you ask us, you force us, to look at ourselves and ask, ‘what are we doing to help our fellow citizens?’”

McNeil and Lieutenant Governor J.J. Grant honoured Casey and four others with medals, inducting them into the Order of Nova Scotia at a ceremony in the Red Chamber of the Province House in Halifax.

Also recognized were Louis E. Deveau, Martin Rudy Haase, Sharon Irwin, and Alistair MacLeod.

                               

The medals to be awarded
The medals to be awarded to the recipients.   Emma Jones

Other Award Winners

As founder of Acadian Seaplants Limited, Louis E. Deveau started with one plant to grow an international corporation of kelp and seaweed-based products. Now called Acadian Seaplants Limited, his company serves 80 countries and employs more than 350 people in eight counties and 700 seasonal harvesters in Canada, Main and Ireland.

Martin Rudy Haase, a native of Chester, was one of Canada’s first environmentalists. Through his career, Haase fought against the use of pesticides, uranium mining, nuclear power, and clear-cut forestry. Haase founded the Friends of Nature Conservation Society in 1954, most known for saving an island in Maine from being clear-cut. In 1996, Haase helped protect a tract of land on the Bras d’Or Lakes in 1996.

“We, as Nova Scotians, are very proud of our province – our coastal beauty, our natural habitat, but we sometimes take it for granted. We thank you for reminding us that it needs to be preserved and protected,” said McNeil.

Sharon Hope Irwin has worked for 40 years to make Nova Scotia child care inclusive and affordable. Moving to Nova Scotia in 1974, Irwin founded the Town Daycare Centre in Glace Bay, serving children with visual impairments, children who had brittle bone disease and those with cerebral palsy.

“Not only have you made your mark here in Nova Scotia,” said McNeil of her efforts to establish the non-profit organization for child inclusion SpeciaLink,

“You have made your mark on the national stage.”

Audience members.
Members of the audience.   Emma Jones

Alistair MacLeod, who passed away in 2014, was recognized for his contribution to Canadian literature. His most famous work, “No Great Mischief,” has been translated into 17 languages and sold all over the world.

“It’s always great to be in the company of people who are doing things for the community. It’s a great honour which I’m sure my husband would have been very proud to accept and receive,” said the writer’s wife, Anita MacLeod.  

Contributions on all levels

The tone of the event was of celebration, both of the contributions of the recipients and of the community diversity present.

“As we stand here to honour five extraordinary Nova Scotians, we … recognize that our future will be blessed with the extraordinary Nova Scotians who are now beginning to shape our province and its future,” said Premier Stephen McNeil.

El Jones, Halifax’s poet laureate and spoken word activist, performed a piece to honour the recipients, but also to remember the many other hard-working initiatives and individuals that are unnoticed. 

“So many people work all their lives for very little recognition, especially women in their communities. I think people always think, ‘does anyone know I’m doing this?’” she said. 

“It’s lovely when people say ‘this is what you did, thank you.’”