Former Moose Javian Don Kossick, who now resides in Saskatoon, has been named a Member of the Order of Canada for his promotion of human rights and social justice. He was also recognized for leadership in international development.
"For me, getting it, because of the kind of work I've done through my life, it's been with communities and on powering communities, dealing with economic and social rights. In a lot of ways, I feel more like I'm receiving that award on behalf of the communities I've worked with in southern Africa and here in Canada."
When looking back, Kossick says there were a couple of Moose Jaw connections that stand out for him.
"I was in southern Africa in Mozambique when it was attacked by the apartheid state of South Africa at that time. So I ended up being involved quite specifically in the anti-apartheid movement. One of the things, and this is a link to Moose Jaw, when they did our anti-apartheid work, we also worked in Canada because we were trying to convince communities and organizations, our government, to take a stand against apartheid. One of the things that we did do, which was called Backing the Front Line, which was backing countries, like Mozambique and Zimbabwe and Botswana, who are also under major attack by the apartheid forces. We created an organization saying we want to support the front line. We want to support people there who are fighting apartheid. One of our meetings was actually in Moose Jaw and I always remember that because there was this picture of all of us in front of the CPR station there at the bottom of Main Street."
Another local connection for Kossick involved the Churchill Park Greenhouse Cooperative.
"We were able to make links back to Zimbabwe, between this Moose Jaw growing cooperative," he explained. "Those links actually have stayed for many, many years and people of Zimbabwe still remember exchanging information. Coming and visiting Moose Jaw and visiting the cooperative."
Kossick is well known as being the host of the Making The Links community radio program, one of CFCR's longest-running programs. He's now into his 26th year with the show.
"The reason it's called Making The Links is because, after my experience internationally, in southern Africa, I always felt there was a need to tell stories from both sides and create an awareness so people can understand what's happening in each place and learn from each other. The importance for the idea was to make those links."
Kossick notes there will be an investiture ceremony at a later date, where he will receive his insignia.
The Order of Canada is one of Canada's highest honours. It recognizes people across all sectors of society who have made extraordinary and sustained contributions to the country. Appointments are made by the governor general on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada.
There were 99 new appointments made to the Order of Canada at the end of December, including two Companions, 32 Officers and 65 Members.
Click below to hear Cory Knutt's full interview with Don Kossick: