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Rick Mercer is one of this year’s recipients of the Order of Canada

Jon Sturge/ Mercer Report/Jon Sturge/ Mercer Report

Order of Canada membership is extended to those who have made outstanding contributions in a wide range of endeavours and exemplify the Latin motto 'Desiderantes meiorum patriam' – They desire a better country.

Kim Baird

"I spent my career advancing my community towards self-government, so to be recognized in such a way is obviously a great honour for me. I don't think the list of First Nation women to have received the Order of Canada is very long, so I'm pretty honoured and privileged to be included amongst such good company. Beyond that, I'm also cognizant that there are a lot of young aboriginal women who view me as a role model and these sorts of recognitions, I think, show our youth that anything is possible. I think I led my community to an arrangement that fulfilled our own terms; no one else dictated our solution." – Kim Baird, elected Chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation in British Columbia from 1999 to 2012. She negotiated British Columbia's first urban treaty, which took effect on April 3, 2009 and replaced the Indian Act in Tsawwassen.

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Harvey Max Chochinov

"Receiving the Order of Canada is a profound honour and deeply humbling. It means recognition for the importance of palliative care for all Canadians with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses and their families. It also personally signals the importance for research in this area, and determining how we can truly help people to die in comfort, with support and with dignity." – Harvey Max Chochinov, leading Canadian researcher in end-of life care whose studies have focused on the mental issues faced by the dying, including depression, the desire for death, the will to live, and the need for dignity and the Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care.

Gerald Finley

"I'm very honoured and humbled, really, to be considered amongst those people who I admire very much for their contributions to life in Canada. Some very influential people are in the Order of Canada, and I don't see it as a responsibility necessarily, but it's certainly a feeling of having an influence in the area in which I work. My whole way of life is reaching out and sharing important things written in classical music with audiences around the world. The wonderful part about being a Canadian and doing that – which is one thing I treasure about being a Canadian and striving for the highest level in classical music – is that we're a country of mixed origin and mixed culture, and classical music is an international pursuit. From that point of view, I'm very grateful for a Canadian upbringing and a Canadian rootedness because I feel I'm very much an ambassador for both music and for Canada." – Gerald Finley, award-winning Canadian baritone who has garnered critical acclaim for leading roles in contemporary opera, including Howard K. Stern in Mark Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole, J. Robert Oppenheimer in John Adam's Doctor Atomic, and Jaufré Rudel in Kaija Saariaho's L'amour de loin.

Chris Hadfield

As the commander of the International Space Station, astronaut Chris Hadfield captured the attention of the world with his stunning photos of the Earth from space and playful social-media presence. He said he was "thrilled and delighted" to receive the Order of Canada. Though he has had a prolific career and numerous accolades – including the Order of Ontario – Col. Hadfield says the accomplishment he's most proud of is his family.

"It sounds trite, but it's true. That's a very complicated thing to do, to raise three kids to adulthood," he said of his children: Kyle, Evan and Kristin. "To be able to look back and see that the household we built and the set of values we instilled in them gets reflected back, that's something to be immensely proud of."

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Rick Mercer

Comedian, actor, author and political satirist famous for his provocative and passionate "rants," which he delivers without pause – and without seeming to take a breath – Rick Mercer found himself in uncharted waters when the call came from Governor-General David Johnston.

"I was legitimately completely speechless, which was new for me. This is not something I had ever anticipated or considered."

From Newfoundland and Labrador, Mr. Mercer rose to fame on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, a CBC television show that skewers politicians of all stripes and has expanded into other themes and communities across Canada on Rick Mercer Report, his weekly television show.

Behind his mischievous smile, his message to Canadians is to get involved in the political process, their communities and to celebrate Canada.

"It may be cliché to say [I am] deeply honoured but that's it in a nutshell. I am honoured, humbled, flattered and extremely proud of everyone who I've worked with over the years who have allowed me to do what I do."

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Kimberly Pate

"It's very humbling, and it's an honour. I see myself as receiving it, not on behalf of myself, but on behalf of the thousands of women with and for whom I work – women who have been marginalized, victimized, criminalized and institutionalized, and all of the women throughout the Elizabeth Fry Societies who walk with those women, some of whom work with us in our organization, some of whom access services, some of whom we advocate with and for." – Kimberly Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association for Elizabeth Fry Societies since 1992, has advocated over the past 30 years for the rights of women and vulnerable groups in prison.

With reports from Anqi Shen, Kaleigh Rogers, Jane Taber and Gloria Galloway

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