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Advocate against family violence inducted into Order of Canada

Author: Communications

Posted on Jan 2, 2014

Category: UNB Fredericton

Rina Arseneault, associate director at the University of New Brunswick’s Murial McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research (MMFC) has been named to the Order of Canada.

Ms. Arseneault has dedicated her career towards ending violence against women and family violence.  She joined the MMFC in November 1993.

Read Shawn Berry's interview with Ms. Arseneault in the January 1 edition of the Daily Gleaner; the full text is below.

'I do what I do because I believe in it' - Arseneault
The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton)
Wed Jan 1 2014
Byline: Shawn Berry Legislature Bureau

A Fredericton researcher, activist and educator who has worked to bring an end to family violence is among three New Brunswickers being inducted into the Order of Canada.

Rina Arseneault, associate director at the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research, has been named to the honour as part of the year-end list issued by the Governor General.

Also among the 61 Canadians added to the order ahead of the new year are Dr. Aurel Schofield of Dieppe and former Moncton mayor Dennis Cochrane.

Schofield, director of the medical training program at the Université de Moncton, was named for his contributions to enhancing health care delivery for Acadians, particularly by designing the French-language medical training facility in the Maritimes.

Cochrane, who has been a teacher, principal, deputy minister of education in Nova Scotia and former interim president of St. Thomas University, was recognized for his contributions to improving education systems in the Maritimes, notably by championing early childhood learning.

Former lieutenant governor Margaret Norrie McCain has been promoted to companion in recognition of her ongoing philanthropic contributions to across Canada and her enduring commitment to early childhood development. She is one of four Canadians elevated to the rank of companion.

Arseneault said Tuesday she was “shocked and thrilled” when she learned of the distinction.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s last thing you think about while you’re doing your work. You do the things you do because you have a passion for it,” she said.

She’s long been involved in working to end violence against women and family violence. She joined the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre shortly after it was created in 1993.

Arseneault says everyone has a role to play in their community.

“I hope seeing such an honour bestowed on the work I do that people remember that if you do all you can do, we may be able to make a difference.

“It’s 2014 and we shouldn’t have to see women like that and children living in situations like that. I do what I do because I believe in it.”

Schofield said when he was approached about the honour, he was happy to accept.

“It surprised me somewhat,” he said.

“You contribute daily, but you don’t realize how much it adds up to in the eyes of others.

He said he hopes it encourages others, particularly those starting out in their careers or beginning their community service.

“I hope it shows them not to be afraid of challenges and that making a contribution to your community is important.”

Recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

Appointments to the order are made on the recommendation of an advisory council. More than 6,000 Canadians have been invested into the Order of Canada over the past 46 years, one of the country’s highest civilian honours for outstanding achievement, service to the country and dedication to one’s community.

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