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The Medal of Good Citizenship is designed to promote volunteerism among British Columbia residents.DARRYL DYCK

The highlight of the B.C. government's Throne Speech last spring was the announcement of a new Medal of Good Citizenship to honour those who serve their communities "with the greatest humility without expectation of reward or recognition." Now, underwhelmed by the public response, the province has extended the deadline for nominations.

The inaugural awards are to be held later this year – the date has not yet been set – and the first medal was shipped to Victoria on Thursday for approval.

Government officials would not disclose how many applications have been received but indicated the response has been slow.

"This is a new medal and we launched this process during the summer months," a ministry official said in a statement Thursday. "We extended the deadline by one week to give British Columbians more time to consider the good citizens in their communities." The new deadline for submissions is Oct. 2.

When the award was announced by Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon, the opposition was dismissive, complaining of the government's lack of vision and big ideas.

"That was a half-hour none of us will ever get back," NDP Leader John Horgan told reporters after the speech.

Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver went further: "This has got to be one of the most bizarre moments for me in this legislature, to see the hubris, the narcissism of a government that thinks that it's okay to make a big deal about bringing in a medal that's been on the books for almost 20 years."

On Thursday, Mr. Weaver said he does intend to nominate someone for the award, but he said the time extension points to poor execution by the Liberal government.

"I am a huge fan of celebrating successes – the idea is a good thing," he said in an interview. "The problem with this government is that it is more about the hoopla, the photo op, than about the substance. So in this case they didn't follow through and promote it."

The award is designed to promote volunteerism and is engraved with the words, "Generosity, Service and Selflessness."

People who submit nominations are asked not to tell the nominee "because of the volume of nominations we expect to receive and the fact that the medal cannot be awarded to all nominees."