This week we start this space by being amongst the first to congratulate Town of Kearney Mayor Paul Tomlinson on his awarding of a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service to the betterment of Canadian life.
The award is high honour and we hope he feels proud for being of the many recipients across the country in honour of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s anniversary of 60 years ruling the British Commonwealth.
Unfortunately we note amongst the first because the accolade has come with some controversy including a request last week from some fellow councillors that he turn the medal over to the municipality for everyone to share in.
It’s a nice sentiment but rather an empty one from individuals who obviously feel Mr. Tomlinson is not a worthy candidate for the medal, especially considering the rancour on council and in the Town that has so far marked his short term in office.
There may or may not be merit to that opinion, but the resolution presented at the council table last Friday night was directed in entirely the wrong direction. If council wants to debate the worthiness of Mr. Tomlinson for the Jubilee, it is something they should not be doing with him.
From everything we know, like every other Jubilee candidate, Mr. Tomlinson did not ask, hint or make any effort whatsoever to garner this honour for himself. His nomination and acceptance were all done by outside forces going right up the chain of command to the Queen’s representative the Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable David Johnston.
If they feel so compelled to start an appeal of this particular medal they should start or end there with the office, which made the decision.
However, if there is going to be criticism leveled anywhere on this it is to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which is the agency that decided to hand the medals out in a shotgun pattern rather than target truly deserving individuals who have given of themselves at and away from the council table from amongst their membership.
We are confident that Mr. Tomlinson was nowhere near the decision making when the haphazard selection process was picked, nor did he lobby to join the Federation solely or with any hopes that a personal Jubilee Medal might come of it.
So, when the Jubilee Medal arrived, Mr. Tomlison did the appropriate thing. He didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, expressed gratitude and humbly accepted it. The reaction of some of his fellow councillors is less laudable with some considerable theatrics coming to a head on Friday night as they chipped away at something Mr. Tomlinson gained through no ill means, skullduggery or deception.
They owe him an apology.
That said, we also hope Mr. Tomlinson is honest in future conversations about just how it was he came to be honoured with Her Majesty’s medal and shows the appropriate humbleness where it is concerned.
We in the Highlands have been quite fortunate to have many of our generous residents recognized for their community spirit and through our interactions with them know it is a very common trait amongst them and fitting for the office from which the award comes.
They, likely more than anyone else, know that it is not for us or them to judge the honour but offer goodwill and congratulations for a gesture from our Royal head of state.