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March 5, 2012 / Man in the Mirror

VETERAN HUMAN RIGHTS COLUMNIST RECEIVES ROYAL DIAMOND JUBILEE MEDAL

-By Louise Brown – Toronto Star – February 3, 2012
Veteran Star columnist Haroon Siddiqui, who has long championed the rights of minorities, is one of the first recipients of Canada’s new Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, created to honour the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.

Siddiqui is one of some 36 distinguished Ontarians – journalists, politicians, athletes, lawyers, musicians, dancers and human rights activists – presented with the newly minted medals last Monday [Feb. 6] by Ontario Lt.-Gov. David Onley at Queen’s Park in recognition of their “tremendous achievements and contributions to their country.”

Over the course of this year, some 60,000 Canadians will receive the medal.

As a columnist, Siddiqui said he has worked to “give a voice to the voiceless; that is what we do at the Star.” He is one of a number honoured “for fighting for the civil rights of others,” as well as humanitarian Stephen Lewis, lawyer Clayton Ruby and activist David Lepofsky.

Some recipients represent other 2012 milestones, including legendary CFL quarterback Russ Jackson (100th anniversary of the Grey Cup), former Ontario attorney-general Roy McMurtry, former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci (30th anniversary of the Constitution’s repatriation) and Ontario Heritage Trust chair Thomas Symons (200th anniversary of the War of 1812.)

Those honoured also include former Star columnists Michele Landsberg and Tony Aspler, TV anchors Lloyd Robertson and Peter Mansbridge, filmmaker David Cronenberg, singer Molly Johnson, gay rights activist Rev. Brent Hawkes and author Austin Clarke.

Siddiqui said he was delighted to receive the award alongside such artistic heroes as musician Gordon Lightfoot (“I’ve seen a gazillion of his concerts”) and ballerina Karen Kain(This article was slightly edited and abridged for the CIC Friday Magazine.)

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