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Three Manitobans appointed to Order of Canada

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Three Manitobans have been appointed to the Order of Canada.

Janice Filmon was named for her charitable work, Phil Fontaine for contributions on behalf of First Nations and Elmer Hildebrand for developing community service radio in Western Canada, today’s announcement said.

They will be presented with their insignia at one of three ceremonies in 2013 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

The motto of the order established in 1967 by Queen Elizabeth II is "desiderantes meliorem patriam" or "they desire a better country." The Order of Canada recognizes three levels of service: companion, officer and member.

Fontaine was named an officer of the order in recognition of "a lifetime of achievement and merit of high degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large."

He was born at the Sagkeeng First Nation in 1944 and went to a residential school in Sagkeeng and Winnipeg. He was elected chief of Sagkeeng in 1973. He was elected grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs in 1991 and national chief of the Assembly of First Nations in 1997. He owns and operates Ishkonigan, a firm that specializes in consultation and mediation services for indigenous communities. He has been honoured with the Order of Manitoba.

The survivor of Canada’s residential school system was instrumental in negotiating the $5.1-billion residential-school settlement, which included compensation for survivors, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, an education fund, healing resources and commemoration funding.

Filmon and Hildebrand were both named "members" of the Order of Canada in recognition of a "lifetime of distinguished service in or to a particular community, group or field of activity."

Janice Filmon is on the board of the University of Manitoba Foundation and is past president of its alumni association. She serves on the boards of the Cancer Care Manitoba Foundation and the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice. The Janice C. Filmon Award for Leadership in Cancer Care in Manitoba was created in her honour. She could not be reached for comment.

Hildebrand said he was surprised to receive the honour.

"I think it was sort of amazing getting that call out of left field," said the owner of Altona-based Golden West Radio.

"It’s a very humbling experience to be awarded this kind of honour and I accept it on behalf of all the people who work for Golden West."

The 75-year-old lives in Winnipeg but has an office in Altona where he got his start in the business writing radio ads in 1957.

"I was right off the farm."

There were nine employees. Today, there are 500.

"Golden West has 40 stations across the Prairies," Hildebrand said Sunday while on vacation in Barcelona.

The last one was purchased in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., a month ago, he said.

The broadcast company still hires people right off the farm, he said.

"We think what we are doing for the communities is important." The radio stations tend to hire local people who know their communities and want to stay, he said.

They’ve had lots of offers to sell, he said.

"We’ve decided not to be swallowed up and carry on with our community service and we do that across the prairies. It’s our ambition to keep doing that," said Hildebrand.

"If we were sold to a public company a lot that would disappear."

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