Left to Right: Margaret Macdonald Casey; Louis E. Deveau; Premier Stephen McNeil; Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant; Martin Rudy Haase; Sharon Hope Irwin; Anita MacLeod (On behalf of the late Alistair MacLeod).
Dr. Margaret Macdonald Casey
Dr. Margaret Casey is a health care provider, an educator, and a community advocate. She is one of a small group of health professionals who recognized the unmet, urgent need of North End Halifax families for accessible, respectful health care and she has worked hard to provide it.
Margaret is a role model and mentor to many in the medical profession who champion the importance of improving the social determinants of health. She has always advocated for the need to address social issues-poverty, illiteracy, racism-as part of improving health care. With her quiet, modest leadership style she has taken her profession where it needed to go, advocating for change while remaining an unassuming servant of those most in need.
Margaret has been a valued member of the Faculty of Dalhousie's Medical School, where she has helped to instill a community service ethic in the hearts of future physicians and other health professionals. She was among the first to volunteer when the College of Physicians and Surgeons introduced an assessment process for practicing physicians and toured the province to educate her colleagues about its value. She has served on many health-related committees and boards, and championed many community causes. She has volunteered in medical clinics in St. Lucia and Haiti.
Margaret has earned the respect of the disadvantaged and those who work with them. She has been an inspiration through almost 50 years of service to her profession and the people of Nova Scotia. She has helped to make this a kinder place.
Louis E. Deveau
Louis Deveau, from Salmon River, Nova Scotia, founded Acadian Seaplants Limited, a multi-national, bio-tech manufacturing company specializing in technical marine plant-derived products with exports to over 80 countries.
Louis has devoted 48 years to the seaweed industry. In 1980 he acquired Marine Colloids, Canada from its U.S. parent; a decisive event in the creation of a Canadian seaweed industry. In 1981 Acadian Seaplants Limited was created and continuous investments in R&D, market development, sustainable resource management and people have ensured the company's success.
He is dedicated to research and has made his company a globally-recognized technical leader. To advance the company's research, in 2002 he built a Research Centre. Today, the company employs over 350 people in eight countries, (including 13 Ph.D.s) and 700 seasonal harvesters in Canada, Maine and Ireland; while operating five major manufacturing facilities in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ireland from its corporate office in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
For his success, the company has received significant recognition as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies for 13 years, awards for safety, exporting, environmental excellence and business ethics. Louis has received four honourary degrees and numerous personal awards for his entrepreneurship including being inducted as an Officer in the Order of Canada in 2004 and in the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame in 2015.
Louis champions the Acadian culture and heritage. He served as Chancellor of Université Sainte-Anne, where he earned his first degree and his first honourary degree. The Louis E. Deveau Entrepreneurship Centre was dedicated in his honour. His business achievements epitomize the innovative entrepreneurial spirit that is creating Nova Scotia's successful future. His philanthropy and his Acadian spirit have combined to serve our Province and residents well.
Martin Rudy Haase (Deceased)
Rudy Haase is an exceptional community leader, mentor, and entrepreneur, with decades of service to a diverse range of causes.
Rudy is one of Nova Scotia's longest serving environmentalists. He has fought against harmful pesticides, uranium mining, nuclear power, and clear-cut logging, always with wisdom and civility. He was a founding member of the Friends of Nature Conservation Society in 1954, which saved an island in Maine from clear cutting and campaigned against DDT. With this group he championed many environmental causes around the world. Such work continued after his move to Nova Scotia in 1967, including helping a local grassroots movement prevent aerial insecticide spraying in Cape Breton in the 1970s.
Rudy's commitment to nature is legendary. He was the first landowner to donate a conservation easement to the new Nova Scotia Nature Trust, protecting a tract of land on the Bras d'Or Lakes in 1996. His second easement, protects four spectacular coastal islands on the Eastern Shore. This area's wilderness jewel, is a forest-encircled sheltered cove with magnificent twin beaches. Rudy worked for over 20 years to protect and acquire the peninsula, which, thanks to his and others' donations, is now owned by the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. His third easement, on his home property, protects the woodland surrounding Goat Lake in Chester.
Rudy has also been a lifelong supporter of arts, culture, education, and heritage and has championed a long list of community projects. He has an intense commitment to symphonic music and has helped many gifted musicians pursue their talents through various organizations. He is a devoted supporter of Symphony Nova Scotia.
Rudy is a visionary, an activist, a philanthropist, and a true promoter of civil society, of peace, and of social justice. His love for all people shines through everything he does. He has lived modestly so that he may give largely.
Sharon Hope Irwin
Sharon Hope Irwin has devoted 40 years to ensuring that child care is inclusive, affordable, accessible, and comprehensive.
Sharon moved to Nova Scotia from the United States in 1974 to create the Town Daycare Centre in Glace Bay and serve as its executive director. She devoted herself to transforming an old company store into an innovative children's place, with space for privacy and learning as well as vigorous rough-and-tumble play.
When a parent desperately needed care for a child with severe special needs, Sharon's heart told her that including the child was the right thing to do, and she found a way. The centre went on to successfully integrate children with visual impairments, children who had brittle bone disease, and children with cerebral palsy. She and her staff saw that it could be done and that everyone benefitted. No one was left out. Sharon's job became her life's work.
When Dr. Richard Goldbloom at the IWK saw what Sharon had achieved, he convinced her to share her success. She created the non-profit SpeciaLink: The National Centre for Early Childhood Inclusion and went on the road to share her message of inclusion and her methods with all of Canada. She became a passionate champion for children with special needs. Her books, presentations, and training sessions continue to influence practitioners and decision makers across the country and beyond.
Sharon is recognized as Canada's pre-eminent advocate for the inclusion of young children with special needs. Her efforts have resulted in major policy and practice changes in every province. She has made an enormous contribution to enhancing the rights of children.
Alistair MacLeod is recognized as one of Cape Breton Island's finest literary voices.
Born in North Battleford Saskatchewan in 1935, his family returned to Dunvegan when he was a young boy. His experiences growing up in Inverness County are present in the themes and images of his work and he did much of his writing there, in the summer solitude of a rustic cabin by the sea. In April of 2014, Alistair was laid to rest in his beloved Broad Cove, Cape Breton.
Alistair was a storyteller, deeply influenced by the Gaelic language and culture of his people. He was able to translate the spirit and value of oral traditions into the printed word and his words were, in turn, translated into 17 languages. His highly detailed, particular and localized writing spoke of universal cares and concerns. He often spoke of "sending letters to the world" hoping they would be read and the readers affected in some way. They were. His ability to transcend place was acknowledged by numerous accolades, including, in 2001, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his novel, No Great Mischief.
Alistair's legacy lives on. His novel and short stories are ours to treasure and his many awards and honours have become part of our provincial and national story. Alistair was a mentor to students and young writers throughout the world and taught for many years in the University of Windsor's creative writing program. His influence and his kindness will benefit Canada's literary community for decades to come.
All who met him-at the Broad Cove Scottish Concert or at various community and literary events-will remember his warmth and his genuine interest in everyone he encountered. He had a gentle spirit, humble ways and cherished Nova Scotia and its people.
Tapadh leat, Alistair, tapadh leat.