Prominent Canadian Sikh stripped of
Prominent Canadian Sikh stripped of Order of Canada
OTTAWA – A prominent member of Canada’s Sikh community has been stripped of his Order of Canada, Sun Media has learned.
The order, signed by Governor General Michaëlle Jean, comes after Tapisher Sher Singh was found guilty in 2007 of professional misconduct and disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Singh, the first Sikh to be appointed to the order, becomes the third person ever stripped of it.
Former hockey great Alan Eagleson was removed from the order after he was jailed for defrauding players while first nations leader David Ahenakew was removed after he made hateful anti-Semitic comments.
Reached at his home in Guelph, Singh said he always felt the Order of Canada was honoring the work of many people, not just himself.
“I was thrilled to get it and I felt extraordinarily privileged to get it but I never thought that I deserved such honors.”
Jean signed the ordinance in December and notice was quietly given in the government’s Canada Gazette on March 28 but Singh says the first he heard that he had been officially stripped of the honor was when he was contacted yesterday by Sun Media.
Singh said the governor general’s office notified him five or six months ago that the Order of Canada committee had recommended his appointment be terminated and asked him to consider resigning. Singh responded that he was willing to resign but wanted to know the basis for the decision.
Marie-Paule Thorn, spokeswoman for Rideau Hall, said due process was followed and Singh was given an opportunity to state his case.
Singh, a former contributor to the Toronto Star who now works as a writer, was awarded the Order of Canada in 2002, not for his legal work but for his work in with the Sikh community and building bridges with other ethnic groups in Canada.
“A prominent member of the Sikh-Canadian community, he is an advocate for the importance of positive race relations and interactive dialogue among members of different religions.”