June 20, 2016 – Ottawa – It is with great admiration and respect that the members the Board of Directors of IABC Ottawa announce the Honourable Mauril Bélanger as the 2016 Communicator of the Year.
“IABC Ottawa salutes Mr. Bélanger’s drive to communicate and his constant work to improve people’s lives,” says Sherrilynne Starkie, IABC Ottawa president. “We recognize him as a role model in our community.”
Mr. Bélanger was first elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Ottawa—Vanier in a by-election in February 1995, and he has been re-elected at every election since. In December 2015 he was named Honorary Speaker of the House of Commons by unanimous consent.
When choosing a Communicator of the Year, IABC Ottawa seeks people who:
- inspire with their messages
- use new and different tools to be clearly understood
- have a passion for community
- act as a trusted leader and mentor
Mr. Bélanger has all these characteristics and more. He has always supported the causes of the people from public servants to the homeless. In late 2015 he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. While this may have quieted his voice, it has not stopped his determination to be heard and to make a difference in the lives of Canadians from coast-to-coast.
He has steadfastly promoted awareness of ALS, and recently he was in the news to support Bill C-210. This is an act to honour the contribution and sacrifice of our Canadian women, in addition to those of our men, in our national anthem.
Mr. Bélanger has also been chronicling his journey with ALS, recently leading an ALS Walk in Ottawa. All this, without his voice, but through the innovative use of an application on his iPad that speaks for him.
The Communicator of the Year will be recognized at our end of season event on Wednesday, June 22 at the Red Fox Pub. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.
Stacey Diffin-Lafleur (613-286-8862)
VP, Awards and Certification