Nov. 6, 2009
-- OTTAWA, Canada - The Canadian Expat Association, representing the 2.8 million Canadian citizens living outside Canada, announces the winner of the contest it hosted to determine the most influential Canadian expatriate, after inviting its members and the public to nominate individuals active around the world. The ensuing short list for voting was based on the number of multiple nominations being received. Those making the short list, including many widely known expatriate entertainers, sports athletes, media personalities and some well-known within the business, environmental, scientific, cultural, academic or diplomatic worlds, were publicized for voting purposes in September. The month of October was allotted for voting, and voting results determined Michael J. Fox to be this year’s most influential Canadian expatriate, for the bravery of his personal fight against Parkinson’s Disease and the scope and effectiveness of his global campaign to someday find a cure for the debilitating and deadly disease while supporting those around the world who share the affliction.
Fox was in great company, for the four runners-up included: Wayne Gretzky for helping to build the global popularity of hockey, Tony Burman for expanding perspectives of global public affairs as Managing Director of Al Jazeera English, the world’s first English-language news channel headquartered in the Middle East, Neil Young for his iconic role in promoting a distinctively Canadian character to the world’s popular music, and Peter Allard for maintaining his personal philanthropy broadly benefitting charitable and educational organizations across Canada while residing in Barbados, and for his steadfast support and actions to preserve the natural habitats of several Caribbean islands at great personal cost, in the face of encroaching tourism developments.
Other expatriate nominees making the voting short list included Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey, David Foster, Joni Mitchell, William Shatner, Donald Sutherland and Alex Trebek from the entertainment world, eBay founder and social entrepreneur and philanthropist Jeff Skoll, former UN advisor and special envoy Maurice Strong - arranger of the Rio Summit of world leaders addressing climate change, which led to the Kyoto Accords, and now helping China to reconcile economic development with environmental sustainability, and Dr. Jennifer Welsh - Oxford Professor of International Relations, co-directing the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict.
The many nominees not quite making the short list for voting included Maurice Bannayan - Director of Operations of India Reliance Industries, headed by multi-billionaire Mokesh Ambani, Japan-based Ken Courtis - former Vice Chair of Goldman Sachs Asia and founding Chair of Next Capital Partners, Dr. James Gosling – inventor of the Java programming language and many Unix utility programs, Andrew Work - Executive Director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, and property developer Allan Zeman - Director of global Wynn Resorts Limited and Chair of Lan Kwai Fong Holdings Limited, owner-operator of Ocean Park, a major theme park in Hong Kong. Unfortunately a qualified expatriate proxy for the entire Canadian military force in Afghanistan was not nominated, although the general idea was suggested by more than one member.
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The association serves the 2.8 million Canadians that are currently outside of Canada. Located around the globe, our members include; Individuals, Corporations, Embassies & Consulates, Social and business organizations - All of them Canadians abroad