Government of New Brunswick

The names of the recipients of the 2021 Order of New Brunswick were released.

The award honours current or former long-time residents of New Brunswick who have demonstrated a high level of individual excellence and achievement in any field, having made outstanding contributions to the social, cultural or economic well-being of New Brunswick and its residents.



Biographical Notes




During his high school and college years, Wesley Armour helped his father with the family farm and trucking company, Armour Transportation Systems, in Taylor Village. Two years after graduating from NBCC’s business administration program he assumed ownership of the company, which went on to become one of the 10 largest transport and warehousing enterprises in Canada.

Mr. Armour has received many awards for excellence in business and as an employer. For the last 15 years, Armour Transportation Systems has been recognized as a Platinum member by Canada’s Best Managed Companies, and for the last decade they have been on the list of the top 100 companies in Canada.

Mr. Armour successfully led his company forward by being flexible and continuously adapting practices to meet the new realities of doing business. At the same time, his family values remained important and he followed his father’s guidance by treating everyone with respect, dignity and equality; giving back to the community by supporting services and programs; ensuring employees know that their contribution to the company’s success are appreciated; and by always providing superior customer service. He takes every opportunity to visit his company’s depots, warehouses and offices for friendly conversation with employees, and never misses a chance to give someone a pat on the back for a job well done. He also recognizes the importance of mentoring young managers and publicly recognizing employees.

He and his wife Patricia support many organizations and charities across Atlantic Canada and beyond. This includes a number of local organizations such as the United Way, YMCA, hospital foundation campaigns, and literacy programs.  As CEO of his company, Mr. Armour has overseen contributions of more than $1 million to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in addition to providing in-kind services and volunteer support.

Mr. Armour has been inducted into the Order of Canada, the Order of Moncton, and the Junior Achievement New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame. He has also been awarded the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal.

Wesley Armour is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his substantial contribution to the province’s economic development, for his fierce loyalty and generosity toward his employees, and for his role as an informal ambassador for New Brunswick.




After receiving a business degree from Acadia University and a master in public administration from Dalhousie University, Edward Barrett started his career with the federal government in Ottawa. Not long after, he returned to New Brunswick to work alongside his brother Bill and his father Mac in a family business. The brothers became strong business partners and are still working together today, as investors in businesses across North America.

The Barrett brothers’ entrepreneurial endeavours are well known in New Brunswick and throughout the country. Based in Woodstock, Mr. Barrett was co-founder of Xplornet Communications, a broadband and communications company. Over the years, the Barrett brothers were also owners of Wonder Auto Centers and Atlantic Rentals, and they acquired the rights to a snowmobile distribution company, helped to develop a bicycle distribution business, and they currently own Valley Refrigeration.

Barrett has distinguished himself by helping local businesses to excel and by being a strong board member dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and companies. His talents have been sought on national boards, including Atlantic Industries, Nav Canada, Medavie, Wajax and Apex Industries. In 2006, he was appointed to the board of NB Power and he served as chair from 2010 until 2020. His service was recognized in 2016 by the Institute of Corporate Directors who named him a fellow of the Institute.

Mr. Barrett has consistently used his skills, experience and network to benefit others. He invests his time in his community, serving as a volunteer and a leader in places such as at his local church, the Woodstock Rotary, Crandall University, Carleton Memorial Hospital Foundation, NB Business Council and a host of other projects, ranging from literacy achievements to fundraising for the Carleton Civic Center. He was recognized for his volunteer efforts with the Paul Harris Award from Rotary International. He has also been recognized by the Junior Achievement New Brunswick Business Hall of Fame.

Edward Barrett is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his tremendous leadership, engagement and significant contribution to economic development in New Brunswick and within his community.




Armand Caron, who has a bachelor of arts and a master’s degree in French studies from Université Laval, worked in post-secondary education for over 30 years.

He began his career in 1973 as a French teacher at the Collège Jésus-Marie, which is now the Université de Moncton, Shippagan Campus. He then became director of student services, director of instructional services, and then vice-president of the Shippagan Campus from 1990 to 2005. In that capacity, he oversaw the establishment of the Coastal Zones Research Institute, the Centre international d'apprentissage du français, and the addition of a number of buildings on the campus. After working in the university sector, he took on the role of Editor and General Manager of the francophone daily newspaper L’Acadie Nouvelle from 2005 to 2009.

Active in a number of causes, committees, and fundraising campaigns, Mr. Caron has served on numerous boards, including on the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, the Fondation communautaire de la Péninsule acadienne, the Société d'Aide au développement des collectivités, the Association des universités du troisième âge du Nouveau-Brunswick, the Acadian Peninsula Book Fair, and he was the first chair of the board of governors of the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick. He was the founding president of the Véloroute de la Péninsule acadienne, where he still sits as a special member. He is also a highly regarded member of several other committees, including Revitalisation Shippagan, the committee for the new Shippagan-Lamèque bridge, and the Richelieu Club.

Mr. Caron has been recognized many times for both his professional and volunteer work and received, among other honours, the Gilbert Finn Award from the Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick, the honorary title of Administrator Emeritus from the Université de Moncton, the Ordre du bénévolat of the Town of Shippagan, and the Richelieu International President’s medal for his contribution to the community, to the Francophonie, and to the French language.

Armand Caron is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his exceptional contribution in the field of education, to his community, to the local Francophonie, and for his remarkable qualities as a leader and unifier who has greatly contributed to the advancement of New Brunswick.




David Christie, a highly respected and knowledgeable naturalist in New Brunswick, showed an early interest in nature. At 10 years old, he was already keeping detailed journals of his observations. His data collection, research and contribution to public policy and education are inestimable to New Brunswick’s record of environmentalism.

In 1965, as the first full-time park naturalist at Fundy National Park, he developed and delivered interpretive programs, documented the natural history of the park and created new nature trails, for which he received a National Parks Centennial Award in 1985. In 1969, Mr. Christie was appointed as curator and head of the New Brunswick Museum’s Natural Science Department, a position he held for 11 years.

Mr. Christie has participated in more Christmas bird counts that any other naturalists in the province and has conducted more than 100 North American Breeding Bird Surveys. He was also the long-time editor of the NB Naturalist and co-founded the Nature NB listserv, which has become the main communication tool among naturalists across the province.

For 40 years, Mr. Christie partnered with Dr. Mary Majka to advance nature-based interpretation and education programs in New Brunswick. This work led to the creation of the Mary’s Point Bird Sanctuary within the Shepody National Wildlife Area. Mr. Christie also advocated for the establishment of Mount Carleton Provincial Park, the Caledonia Gorge Protected Natural Area and others.

An ardent champion for the protection of sensitive habitats and heritage sites, he was part of many heritage conservation efforts in his community, including the Bank of Nova Scotia Building in Riverside-Albert, the Molly Kool House, the Anderson Hollow Lighthouse, the Harvey Shipyard Park and the Harvey Hall Community Centre. Generous with his time, Mr. Christie has encouraged generations of naturalists and activists towards a greater appreciation of place, involvement in community and the pursuit of nature-based careers. He played an important role in establishing New Brunswick’s most influential naturalist and conservation organizations, as well as one of Canada’s great conservation success stories, the NB Wildlife Council.

David Christie is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his significant contribution in expanding understanding of New Brunswick’s natural history, for his support of land conservation, and for the role he played in raising awareness about the importance of protecting the province’s unique areas and creatures.




Madeleine Dubé, a great leader and well-known former politician from Edmundston, has a bachelor’s degree in social work from the Université de Moncton and completed course work for a master’s degree in the same field from Université Laval.

She was a social worker in Edmundston and Grand Falls in the Department of Health and Community Services and at Addiction Services in the Region 4 Hospital Corporation. She was also co-owner and president of Priorité Santé inc. and, after a long career in politics, she has, since July 2018, held the position of vice-president of the Université de Moncton, Edmundston Campus.

Dubé entered politics in 1999 as an MLA for the riding of Edmundston. She was the first francophone woman in the history of New Brunswick to have held the positions of Minister of Health and Minister of Education. She also took on the duties of Minister of Social Development.

In addition, she was the Minister responsible for Poverty Reduction, Minister responsible for the New Brunswick Advisory Council on Seniors, and Minister responsible for Literacy and public libraries. She was also a pioneer as the first francophone woman in the province to have held so many key positions within government.

Affectionately known as Mado, she is recognized for her ability to listen, her generosity, and her energy in defending the interests of her community and region. She has also received several awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal in 2000, the Raoul Léger Memorial Award of the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers in 2013, and the Canadian Association of Social Workers Award for Outstanding Service in 2014.

Madeleine Dubé is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for her unwavering and enduring commitment to improving the lives of New Brunswickers through her leadership as a government employee, entrepreneur, manager, and politician.




Huberte Gautreau is a nurse by profession and a woman of action recognized for her great determination to promote respect for human dignity, gender equality, human rights, and social justice. She has worked at the local, provincial, and international levels, notably in the United States, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Togo, Cameroon, and Peru. It is this experience that has fueled her desire to address the root causes of the problems in her community.

Among her many accomplishments, she created and co-founded numerous organizations including Crossroads for Women, a halfway house that helps victims of family violence and sexual assault in southeastern New Brunswick. She also set up the Option program to help men change their violent behaviour.

This exceptional natural leader was instrumental in having New Brunswick women participate in the first World March of Women in 2000. She co-chaired the provincial committee, which mobilized more than 150 New Brunswick women who traveled to the United Nations in New York to denounce poverty and violence against women.

Ms. Gautreau chaired the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity from 2001 to 2003 and from 2008-2009, the year in which the 2009 provincial public service Pay Equity Act was passed. Subsequently, with continued conviction to support women, she set up the Marichette Foundation, a charitable organization whose mission is to contribute to access to education for francophone women in New Brunswick by offering scholarships.

Ms. Gautreau has received the New Brunswick Human Rights Award, the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, the Order of Moncton Award, and the YMCA Peace Medal. She has also been awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Huberte Gautreau is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for her determination, generosity, and commitment to social justice and human rights.




Constantine Passaris is a Canadian citizen of Greek heritage who came to Canada in 1968 as an international student. He has lived in Fredericton since 1972 when he was appointed as a professor of economics at the University of New Brunswick.

During his almost 50-year academic career, Mr. Passaris has taught thousands of students and received the highest teaching award from UNB, the Allan P. Stuart Award for excellence in teaching. He was also selected twice by Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities as a popular professor.

Mr. Passaris has served as a member of the Economic Council of Canada, chair of the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, chair of the board of directors of the Atlantic Human Rights Centre at St. Thomas University, chair of the New Brunswick Advisory Board on Population Growth, a member of the New Brunswick Immigration Advisory Committee and an advisor to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. He is also the founding president of both the New Brunswick Multicultural Council and the Atlantic Multicultural Council, a former president of the Multicultural Association of Fredericton, a member of the NB Commission on Electoral Reform and the first chair of the New Brunswick Ministerial Advisory Committee on Multiculturalism.

Mr. Passaris has received numerous honours and awards, including the Government of Canada Citation for Citizenship Award. He was the first New Brunswicker to receive an award from the Canadian Council for Multicultural and Intercultural Education, he was a recipient of the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada in 1992, and in 2012 he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his exceptional contribution to New Brunswick and Canada.

In September 2019, the New Brunswick Multicultural Council presented him its inaugural Legacy Award to recognize and celebrate his support and advocacy for multiculturalism and immigration in New Brunswick and Canada and his visionary accomplishment in informing and guiding the provincial and national public policy process. As a trusted economic advisor, his well-researched and respected opinions became a backbone of the New Brunswick government’s economic development strategy under Premier Frank McKenna and laid the groundwork for the provincial immigration strategy.

Constantine Passaris is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his visionary work as a fervent champion and strong advocate for multiculturalism, immigration, inclusion, and human rights.




Originally from Bathurst, Dr. Jennifer Russell joined the military in her second year of medical school. She served at Camp Mirage in Dubai, providing medical support to aircrew flying daily to and from Kandahar. She went on to work for Veterans Affairs and then in family medicine and mental health in Fredericton, including at the substance use disorder services clinic.

From 2008 to 2014, Dr. Russell gathered a group of talented Fredericton physicians to perform for a show called “Ultrasounds” at the Fredericton Playhouse to raise funds in support of organizations and causes such as the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation, Haiti earthquake relief and Hospice Fredericton. She has volunteered her time and talent as a singer, songwriter and saxophonist to the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, Fredericton Exhibition, Theatre New Brunswick and Liberty Lane. For several years she read and recorded news articles for people who are visually impaired with Accessible Media Inc.

Dr. Russell became New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health for the provincial Health Department in 2018. In addition to leading the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she has acted as an expert consultant for key files such as cannabis legalization, obesity and smoking, recreational water protocols and climate change. Her professional expertise, her integrity and her contribution to the social and cultural lives of New Brunswickers, have earned her great respect among colleagues and friends at local, provincial and national levels. She was recently chosen as co-chair of the Public Health Network of Canada.

In 2014 Dr. Russell won the Diane London Award from River Jam for her mix of musicianship and community service. Her outstanding contribution to the community was also recognized by the Rotary Club, who awarded her a Paul Harris Fellow. In 2020, she received the Reg L. Perkin Award as Canada’s Family Physician of the Year. Atlantic Business Magazine named her one the 25 most powerful women in Atlantic Canada for her direction and plain-spoken honesty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brunswick News named her the “Newsmaker of the Year” and l’Acadie Nouvelle named her “Personnalité de l’année.

Dr. Jennifer Russell is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for her steadfast and outstanding leadership and commitment, and for the compassion she showed while working to protect the health and safety of New Brunswickers during a global pandemic.




Ralph Thomas was born in Saint John and moved to the rural community of Willow Grove, where he grew up during the 1940s and 1950s. Later, he became a professional boxer and he is now considered to be the godfather of amateur boxing in New Brunswick. He spent over 30 years promoting and developing the sport at the amateur level, both in Saint John and throughout the province.

Mr. Thomas is the founder of the Golden Gloves Amateur Boxing Club in Saint John. His vision in creating the club was to provide a safe space for young people which would provide them an outlet through boxing. He is also one of the creators of the New Brunswick Amateur Boxing Association, along with Stan Baird and Jerry Shears.

Among the first members of Saint John multicultural and diversity organization PRUDE Inc, (Pride or Race, Unity, and Dignity through Education), Mr. Thomas served as president from 1997 to 2020, earning the respect and support of elected officials and public servants from all levels of government. He continues to serve actively as past president of PRUDE, and to champion the provision of services for minorities and newcomers.

Described by many as a selfless, gentle and knowledgeable leader and motivator, Mr. Thomas has also dedicated his life to teaching about Black history and its contribution to New Brunswick and Canada. In 2012, he cofounded the New Brunswick Black History Society with David Peters and undertook work with the province to remove racially insensitive place names. He has worked to develop and maintain the historic site at Willow Grove outside of Saint John, and to promote the importance of Black history at Kings Landing Historical Settlement.

Inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, Mr. Thomas has been recognized with many other awards and honours including his induction as a builder at the Canadian Amateur Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Award in 2002, the New Brunswick Human Rights Award in 2012, an honorary degree in 2019 from the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, and the Sovereign Medal for Volunteers for his dedication and exemplary commitment.

Ralph Thomas is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his passionate advocacy and promotion of diversity, inclusion and cultural understanding.




Elizabeth Jane Weir is a lawyer and politician, born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She studied sociology and law in Ontario. She then worked at York University, as well as at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton, where she taught industrial relations and labour law.

In 1988, she became the leader of the New Democratic Party of New Brunswick. She was subsequently elected as the MLA for Saint John South in 1991 and thereby became the first woman leader of a political party and the first leader of the New Democratic Party elected to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. She was re-elected in 1995, 1999, and 2003. For 14 years, she was the only NDP member of the legislature assembly. She formally left politics in October 2005 to become president and CEO of a Crown corporation, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency of New Brunswick.

She was one of the first people to found Women for 50% with a mandate to ensure gender equality in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. All over the world, she has showcased best practices on internal party structure to promote gender equality and promote fair democratic elections in countries like Algeria, Libya, Senegal, Northern Ireland, Nepal, and Romania.

This exceptional leader has also been involved in numerous community volunteer initiatives, including as a researcher in residence at the Institute for Urban and Community Studies at UNB. In 2013, as Chair of the United Way of Saint John campaign, she set a 20-year fundraising record.

Ms. Weir is a three-time recipient of the Public Health Policy Award from the Nurses Association of New Brunswick. She was awarded the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. UNB awarded her an honorary degree in 2005, and in 2008 she received the Humanitarian Action Award from the Canadian Red Cross (New Brunswick). In 2020, she was the first recipient of the Spirit of Ella Hatheway Award, an award recognizing a Saint John area woman who has shown leadership in working for positive social change.

Elizabeth Weir is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for her exceptional service and leadership dedicated to the promotion of equality and social justice.