2018 Medal of Merit Recipient

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Sault Ste. Marie Medal of Merit Selection Committee is pleased to announce Steve Butland as the recipient of the 2018 Medal of Merit in recognition of his public service to the community. Butland is a long-time educator, a consummate environmentalist and a devout social democrat with many contributions to the community he serves.
Butland’s career has spanned local and international boundaries across many disciplines contributing to the community’s vitality. He began his career as a teacher and educator serving in the City’s Separate School system for over 34 years as vice-principal in several local elementary schools.
Butland served as Member of Parliament (MP) from 1988 to 1993 in the 34th Parliament of Canada. His portfolio included membership in legislative committees such as the Legislative Committee on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Special Committee on the Act Respecting Customs and Bill C-28, an Act to Amend the Income Tax Act, which affected post-secondary education, Old Age Security and many others. He was also the NDP critic for Public Works and Municipal Affairs. During his time as MP, Steve worked tirelessly on issues affecting Sault Ste. Marie including, Algoma Steel, the re-opening of the Sault Locks and cross border shopping. He always solicited the opinions of constituents by hosting community meetings. On a daily basis, Steve submitted issues requesting the opportunity to ask a question in Question Period – always about Sault Ste. Marie.
Butland served 5 years as Sault Ste. Marie’s MP as a New Democrat however, most of his political service has been at the municipal level, serving many years as Ward 1 Councillor and one term as the City’s Mayor.  As a social democrat, his constituents and their needs always mattered most. Butland worked hard to ensure a just society and equal access to things like public transportation, daycare, recreational facilities and programs, seniors services, road repairs, winter maintenance and police and fire protection, ensuring the highest possible level of service within a framework affordable to local taxpayers.
As a councillor, Butland was admired for his patience, generosity and compassion. He had the ability to work collaboratively with councillors and city staff in a manner that fostered goodwill and teamwork, imparting his own brand of wisdom. It was Steve who introduced Sault Ste. Marie to the concept of separating waste and recycling. He relentlessly led local efforts to introduce the blue box, then the yellow box, pushed for back yard composting and yard waste collection and fought for the introduction of reusable grocery bags made of recycled material to replace plastic bags from grocery and retail stores.
Butland championed the notion that Sault Ste. Marie could be ‘the alternative energy capital of North America’. He led local efforts to produce cleaner energy and introduced Sault Ste. Marie to solar farms, windmills, various cogeneration projects and biodiesel development. Sault Ste. Marie’s environment is greener and healthier because of the numerous efforts he has championed.
Steve Butland’s 34 years of teaching, followed by his 34 years of public service has left a remarkable impact on the City he so loves. His loyalty, service and passion makes him the ideal candidate for the 2018 Medal of Merit.
“For more than three decades, Steve Butland has served our community as an MP, Mayor and City Councillor. His longevity in politics speaks to a reputation earned through hard work and passionate advocacy for Sault Ste. Marie and its residents,” said Mayor Christian Provenzano.
“It is important to recognize and acknowledge that Steve’s contributions to our community go beyond politics. Through his time as an educator and his efforts as a volunteer, Steve has positively impacted the lives of many Saultites. The Medal of Merit is a fitting recognition of Steve’s service and commitment to our community.”
The City of Sault Ste. Marie awards the Medal of Merit annually to individuals or groups who have achieved exceptional meritorious honours in athletics, cultural or academic fields or who make extraordinary contributions to the community.
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