OTTAWA -- Two University of Manitoba researchers are among 74 new appointees to the Order of Canada.
Dr. Patricia Martens, director of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, and science professor Vaclav Smil are the only two Manitobans on this summer's list.
Also among the 74 appointments to the order announced Friday are actor Paul Gross, former P.E.I. premier Alexander Campbell and legendary rocker Ronnie Hawkins. Hawkins' appointment is honorary because he remains an American citizen. The three are among 34 new officers of the order, the second-highest grade.
Others named as officers include Olympic rower Marnie McBean, filmmaker Deepa Mehta and Queen's University biology professor John Smol, who is being honoured for his work on lake ecosystems.
The 40 new members of the order include Rene Angelil, husband and manager of C©line Dion, Ottawa rabbi Reuven Bulka, Ottawa law professor Nathalie Des Rosiers and Eddie Goldenberg, a legendary political operator.
The recipients will be formally invested with their insignia at a later date. Bramwell Tovey, former conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, is being inducted as an honorary member because he is not a Canadian citizen.
Martens said she got a call a couple of weeks ago from Rideau Hall.
"That was pretty exciting," she said. "I thought, 'Are you phoning the right person?' You always hear about people getting the Order of Canada and you never think it's going to be you."
Martens is the third woman associated with MCHP to receive the Order of Canada, and she said, "To have this little gem in Manitoba, this amazing research centre recognized" is what thrills her most.
"It's a great opportunity to say, 'Hey, look in Manitoba; we have this incredible resource.' "
MCHP co-founders Evelyn Shapiro and Noralou Roos were honoured in 2007 and 2005, respectively.
Martens, who is also a professor at the U of M medical school, is being honoured for her advancement of population-health research and her contributions to health policy in Manitoba.
Smil, who retired from the university two years ago, is being recognized for his contributions as an author, professor and speaker to our understanding of the impact of energy use on our biosphere.
Smil accidentally found out about the nomination months ago when someone writing a letter of support mistakenly sent the letter to Smil himself. He said he was honoured, though adding he rarely seeks public attention.
He said he thinks it is rare for someone in the scientific community to be recognized this way.
"You normally have to be a hockey player or a football player or a 14-year-old who has changed the world," Smil said.
His research encompassed a broad range of topics, including energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk assessment and public policy. He has written more than 30 books, including four being released this year alone.
He said few in government actually understand the issues of energy, the environment and population growth that affect our planet.
"Everybody is an instant expert in energy," he said. "I'm trying to do my little part to help people understand it a little bit better."