Murray and Lynda Farmer, Pat Carney and John Brink form a strong local contingent in this year’s appointments to the Order of B.C.
They are among 15 people being recognized as the Order of B.C. marks its 30th year. The award honours people who have acted with distinction in their field of endeavour, and who have been an example of generosity, service and selflessness.
It is the highest acknowledgment the province can bestow on a citizen. There have been 447 appointees to the order since it began.
Saturna Island’s Carney distinguished herself as a journalist and politician, and has worked to promote rights for women, Indigenous people and minorities. She held a number of federal cabinet posts that blazed a trail for women in elected office. She served in the Senate for 18 years and was a champion of the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act that has preserved sites along Canada’s coasts.
Carney said Friday that being chosen to be part of the Order of B.C. means a lot to her. “It’s a thrill, of course, to be recognized in your home province,” she said. “It’s always nice to receive an honour as a Canadian, but to receive it from the Province of British Columbia is really thrilling.”
Carney said her ties to B.C. go back to the 1880s when her grandparents homesteaded in the Okanagan. “I just love this whole province,” she said. “It’s just a wonder, we need to appreciate what we have.”
The Farmers, who live in North Saanich, are philanthropists and community leaders who have worked with the University of Victoria and Camosun College, including serving as co-chairs of a Camosun College Foundation fundraising campaign that is the most successfaul in the institution’s history, generating $6.5 million to support trades education.
The couple has also worked with the Victoria Foundation and the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, and Lynda is on the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s provincial board. Murray was a principal of the family business, Farmer Construction, and also formed Commercial Crane.
Brink, also of North Saanich, calls the capital region home but still oversees business interests in Prince George. He started Brink Forest Products in Prince George in the mid-1970s where he pioneered finger-jointing in Canada — the gluing together of short pieces of lumber that had been considered waste products. He created the largest secondary-wood manufacturer in North America.
Later, he and the College of New Caledonia in Prince George made a joint purchase of a building for trades and technology training, a facility that was opened in 2002 as the John A. Brink Trades and Technology Centre. This year he received an honorary degree from the University of Northern B.C. for his more than 50 years of commitment to commerce, philanthropy and community involvement.