The structure of the group called upon to decide on new inductees to the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador is changing.
The Liberals are amending the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador Act to again have the chancellor of Memorial University of Newfoundland and the chief justice of Newfoundland and Labrador at the decision table.
The new Order of Newfoundland and Labrador Advisory Council will also include the Speaker of the House of Assembly, two order members and clerk of the executive council, with space for additional appointed members of the public, coming to a total of up to eight people offering their vote on nominees.
This is similar to what the council looked like when the province’s highest honour was introduced in 2001 under Liberal premier Roger Grimes.
Government House Leader Andrew Parsons said the act was amended in 2005, taking away the input of the chancellor and chief justice. The Speaker is a new addition by this government, but comes out of a look at similar awards in other jurisdictions.
“We feel that by bringing in this amendment, we’re bringing the advisory committee back to what it was originally intended to be and in many ways mirrors what’s going on in other provinces for their similar type of award,” Parsons told The Telegram.
The original change to the selection committee in 2005 came under the administration of Progressive Conservative premier Danny Williams, who was accused of politicization of the process, in making six out of seven members of the selection committee cabinet appointments. The seventh member was the province’s top civil servant, the clerk of the executive council.
According to The Telegram archives, Williams said the province was served by having more order members select who will join them, while thanking chief justice Clyde Wells and MUN president Axel Meisen for their service in selections to that point.
The fresh amendment, to largely re-set the advisory council seating, is through committee without amendment and is expected to see third reading in the House on Thursday.
The first induction ceremony for the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador took place in September 2004. There are now 99 members.