Canadian PM Creates Awards

The Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has just announced the creation of awards recognising the achievements of Canadian volunteers. The Globe and Mail reports:

Today I am announcing a new program that will give outstanding volunteers the recognition they deserve. The Prime Minister’s Awards for Volunteerism will be my personal thank you,” Mr. Harper said. “Our objective is to raise the profile of volunteerism, to help encourage other Canadians to become volunteers.

The awards will recognise national and regional volunteer excellence in both the community and business spheres as well as in the area of ‘social innovation’. As the report begins:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper travelled Friday to a part of Canada hardest hit by the recession to announce the creation of a new set of awards by his office to honour volunteers and volunteerism.

As well as highlighting the role that volunteer activity can play in softening the effects of economic hardship, these awards also demonstrate a direction in which volunteerism can become politicised towards. With an election looming and major cut-backs already announced, the Conservative PM obviously recognises the value of encouraging a relatively cheap and effective support mechanism. With the award money negligible, the publicity broad and the knock on effect of increased volunteering positive, this is obviously a win-win situation for the under-pressure government.

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