Government of New Brunswick

The names of the recipients of the 2020 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




Rachel Lillian Burgess, considered a pioneer of the inclusive school system in New Brunswick, has dedicated her life to helping children with disabilities to live, learn, play and eventually work in a society where they receive the same respect and dignity given to everybody else.

From Grand-Falls, the teacher, psychologist and counsellor devoted her life to those who needed her most in the early 1960s after her firstborn child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She was told her son would never walk and would always need full-time attention. Mrs. Burgess was determined that this would not be his fate. Through her hard work and incredible dedication, he eventually walked, attended public school, went to university and became a productive member of society.

Seeing her success with her son, many parents of children with physical disabilities and psychological challenges requested her help and advice. She then began her lifelong journey of helping these parents and children by lobbying at all levels of government, local services clubs and organizations for funding to open a school. In 1964, a vacant school was purchased and moved to Grand Falls, where it became the Burgess School.

The school was expanded in 1972 and for more than 50 years Mrs. Burgess and her dedicated staff provided transportation and meal service, in addition to excellent education and care, for the children and adults who attended. Over the years, Mrs. Burgess has devoted countless hours to increasing her understanding and developing curriculum for the many challenges and issues disabled children and young adults were facing physically, mentally and emotionally, to help them develop and improve their academic and life skills.

Mrs. Burgess has received many honors for her remarkable work, including the Order of Canada, the Golden Jubilee Medal, the certificate of volunteer achievement from the Governor General of Canada and several honorary degrees, including an honorary Doctor of Laws from St. Thomas University.

Rachel Lillian Burgess is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for her extraordinary volunteerism in her community and for her impassioned lifelong devotion to improving the lives of those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.




Deborah Craig has had an incredible impact as a trailblazer for women in the Canadian Armed Forces. She has also made an indelible mark on thousands of young people in the Canadian Army Reserve and has had a positive impact as a high school teacher and community college instructor.

Maj. Craig was the first female commissioned officer to serve with the 8th Canadian Hussars, an armoured combat unit, and the first female adjutant and squadron commander for the regiment. She was also one of the few female officers to serve with the 2nd Battalion Royal New Brunswick Regiment.

In 1970, she started volunteering for the 560 Moncton, Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps and she has continued to volunteer at both the provincial and national levels in the cadets movement. In 1998, Maj. Craig became the first female president of the Army Cadet League of Canada.

She was a founding board member and vice-president for Biathlon NB and she helped facilitate the first provincial team to compete in the sport at the 1995 Canada Winter Games. She has been a volunteer, board member, founding member, director, president and vice-president of numerous organizations, including the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s) Association, Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards, the Red Cross and the Royal New Brunswick Rifle Association.

Recognized as a leader and mentor by many of her peers and community members, she has been honoured and recognized many times. She received the Canadian Forces’ Decoration for her good record of conduct, the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal and the Army Cadet League of Canada Volunteer Medal. She is also the recipient of both the Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals for service to the country and contribution to public life. In 2001, she was invested as an officer of the Order of Military Merit for her outstanding service and to recognize her work as a role model for women who serve in the Reserve Force.

After her retirement in 2012, following a 45-year career serving in and with the military, Maj. Craig continued to volunteer with associations like the Army League Cadet of Canada, the Service Battalion Association and the Royal New Brunswick Rifle Association.

Deborah Craig is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for her monumental impact upon the military community in New Brunswick and beyond, as a trailblazer for women in the Canadian Armed Forces.




Alex Dedam is beloved for his patience and sense of humor, and respected for his dedication to his family, community, work and faith.

Born in Burnt Church First Nation, Mr. Dedam graduated from St. Thomas University and started his career in the federal government with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. He has led New Brunswick’s Joint Economic Development Initiative for 25 years, providing leadership, relationship building, awareness and mentorship within the province and beyond.

His vast professional path has been dedicated to establishing policies and programs for Indigenous people by building relationships based on trust. He has worked tirelessly both personally and professionally to advocate for education, improved social conditions and economic development for Indigenous populations, while emphasizing the need for respectful cultural understanding.

As a man of faith, Mr. Dedam has served on countless boards for faith-based organizations, including the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Association of NB. He has taught catechism and to this day he continues to sing in a church choir. He has volunteered his time to facilitate activities such as minor hockey, ice skating and choral societies. He has also volunteered for organizations focused on mental health, education, housing and human rights.

His life has been invested in inclusivity and intervention. He and his wife Rita have opened their home as a safe haven for youth at risk. They have lodged, fed and cared for 10 foster children, and have maintained many of those relationships to this day. True to form, the Dedams have welcomed and embraced new immigrant families coming to this country for a better life, and in the process have established long lasting friendships.

Mr. Dedam’s exemplary record is a playbook of human compassion and selflessness; of how commitment, love and understanding prevail. He is a gracious, articulate, highly principled man and one of action. When his wife of 54 years was asked what she thought his best qualities were, her response was simple and profound: “He’s the best thing ever put on earth.”

Alex Dedam is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his impactful and vast contributions as a tireless advocate for improved education, social conditions, and cultural awareness, and for helping to forge trusting and respectful relationships for the advancement of Indigenous people.




Dr. Dennis Furlong, a family physician and a former Minister of Health, is remembered by his patients, colleagues, friends and family members for his numerous accomplishments, but also for his devoted care and attention for his patients.

Born in St. John’s, N.L. in 1945, Dr. Furlong demonstrated exceptional academic, educational and athletic leadership early in life. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of New Brunswick and a master of science in remedial and adapted physical education from the University of Oregon. After five years of teaching in both Canada and the United States, Dr. Furlong received his medical degree from Memorial University and in 1977 he opened his family practice in Dalhousie.

Early in his medical career, he advocated for the health of New Brunswickers by serving on several advisory groups and boards, as president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons and as a member of the Medical Council of Canada.

His leaderships skills led him into politics and he was elected in 1999 as the member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick for the riding of Dalhousie-Restigouche East. He became Minister of Health and Community Services, Minister of Health and Wellness in 2000 and Minister of Education in 2001.

Soon after his return to his medical practice in 2003, Dr. Furlong led an inquiry into the use of herbicide spray in Gagetown. In 2004, he published a book on the Canadian health-care system entitled Medicare Myth: 50 Myths We’ve Endured About the Canadian Health Care System.

The highly respected physician, educator, advocate and author was also an athlete. He had a passion for sports and played a key role in facilitating the 2003 Canada Winter Games, which were held in northern New Brunswick. He also won a National Research Council grant to develop and design a ground contact monitoring device for Olympic race walking.

After retiring from his medical career, Dr. Furlong continued to stay physically active. He won a gold medal at the Canadian Senior Games and competed in the decathlon event in the 2016 Pan-Am Masters Championships in Vancouver at the age of 71, where he set a provincial record representing Canada.

He was the recipient of numerous honours and distinctions throughout his life, including the International Rotary Paul Harris Fellow recognition, the Order of Merit from the New Brunswick Medical Society and the Canadian Medical Association’s Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action in 2012. Dr. Furlong died in 2018 at the age of 72.

Dr. Dennis Jerome Furlong is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his outstanding contributions to New Brunswick’s health care system, his leadership in health education and public policy, and his significant and inspirational athletic achievements.




Georges Henri Goguen, a Moncton painter known for his entire body of work but also for his generosity, is the pride of his wife, his family, his community, Acadians, and his province. He is considered by his peers to be part of the first generation of artists dedicated to the advancement of contemporary art in Acadie. This visual artist has been practicing his avant-garde art for more than 60 years, with passion and discipline.

At a very young age, he was encouraged by his father to pursue his interest and talent and he enrolled in correspondence courses which led to receipt of his diploma. He received other training, including private lessons with Ron Irving and studies at Mount Allison University in Sackville, where he met the renowned Alex Colville, who was his professor at the time. In the 1960s, his curiosity and willingness to explore led him to do an internship at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

Mr. Goguen began his career as an advertising illustrator for the Eaton’s magazine in Moncton, and he was hired 15 years later as a graphic and set designer at Radio-Canada. He taught graphic arts courses at the Université de Moncton, where he shared his knowledge with young students.

A figurehead in the art world, in the 1970s, he founded a mini exhibition hall called the Mini-galerie de Radio-Canada in Moncton, which was renamed the Galerie Georges-Goguen when he retired. The gallery is a place of first contact with the art world for young people and amateur and accomplished artists, and it has enabled more than 500 artists from all generations to exhibit their work.

A founding member of Galerie Sans Nom and Galerie 12, both located in the Aberdeen Cultural Centre in Moncton, Mr. Goguen has never stopped promoting artists. After the Galerie Georges-Goguen, he founded the Café des artistes, which allows artists to present their approaches and artistic works to the public over a coffee.

Georges Henri Goguen is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his tremendous career as a pioneer of modern art in Acadia, and for his promotion and support of emerging artists in the Maritimes.





Alida Léveillé-Brown has dedicated her life to achieving better social justice and improved public services for her community and her province.

Born in Edmundston in 1932, Ms. Léveillé-Brown is considered by many to be a force of nature. An experienced educator, her contributions to this field were far reaching and impactful. She voluntarily organized and supported university courses for people from Restigouche and from Matapedia to Carleton, Quebec who wanted to complete their post-secondary education. Social workers, bank and credit union employees and future educators thus obtained university degrees. Ms. Léveillé-Brown also played a significant role in establishing the trade school in Campbellton, which became the community college we know today.

Recognized for her tenacity in education, she was the only person for 21 years to offer pre-kindergarten and kindergarten education to Mi’kmaq students from Listuguj, and she was also one of the first school principals to integrate special needs students and students with disabilities within a regular classroom setting.

In addition to her career in education, she had a vibrant family life while being active in numerous social organizations, always working for the betterment of others, and taking up the fight against poverty to promote the advancement of society at all levels. Ms. Léveillé-Brown helped to improve the status of women in her area by working to open a shelter for women experiencing domestic violence in Campbellton, known as the Maison Notre-Dame House. A member of the Femmes acadiennes et francophones for 50 years, she has held different positions on the board of directors.

Having devoted much of her life to the betterment of her community, in addition to her outstanding work in education, she restructured the operations of both the library and the Restigouche Gallery. Despite her advanced age, Ms. Léveillé-Brown continues to offer her support and ideas to many organizations with which she still engages such as the Club des aînés de Notre-Dame des Neiges.

Alida Léveillé-Brown is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for her exceptional work in continuing education, and for her outstanding commitment to improving the status of women and families within her community.




A strong advocate for human rights, Kenneth Pike has worked to improve the lives of people with disabilities in New Brunswick for over 30 years.

From Rothesay, as a human rights lawyer by profession, he has an in-depth knowledge of social policy and government systems. He is also the director of social policy for the New Brunswick Association for Community Living and serves as the association’s chief policy, proposal, and program writer.

Mr. Pike began his career as a lawyer in the 1980s. Seen as an excellent researcher and an articulate writer, he was often assigned to cases that required thoughtful reasoning and problem-solving skills. After assisting on a file that successfully challenged school legislation, based on the new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms regarding the issue of segregated classrooms, it became clear to him that he wanted to represent and advocate for vulnerable individuals to help them find their place as valued members of society.

Recognized nationwide for his expertise on disability and human rights issues, he is frequently invited to share his work and his perspective across the country. He has provided training to a wide spectrum of people and worked collaboratively with organizations and government in the areas of early learning and childcare, inclusive education, transition from school to work, housing, employment, disability support, and poverty and income support. He is one of the chief policy writers for the New Brunswick Disability Executives’ Network and has authored several books, resources, discussion papers, and policy briefs on a variety of disability-related issues.

Mr. Pike’s commitment to social justice and equality during his career has earned him the admiration and respect of those he has worked with. In 2007, he was recognized as a Distinguished Associate from the New Brunswick Association for Community Living. In 2008, he received the New Brunswick Human Rights Award, and in 2017, he was inducted to the Bertha Wilson Honour Society by The Schulich School of Law and Dalhousie University and the Dalhousie Law Alumni Association.

Kenneth Pike is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his visionary work and significant contributions to progressive social policy, and for his passionate and dedicated advocacy for human rights.




Susan Reid is well respected by her peers and is viewed as an expert on youth justice.

Ms. Reid earned a bachelor of applied science from the University of Guelph, and a master of arts, master of education, and PhD from the University of Toronto. She moved to New Brunswick in 1997 when she accepted a position as the director of the newly developed criminology program at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. She has been teaching and doing research at the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice since that time.

She volunteered her time for the advancement of individuals in conflict with the law during her time as a resident of Ontario and after moving to New Brunswick. The former vice-president of the John Howard Society of Canada, she has also served with the Vanier Institute of the Family, the Canadian Coalition on the Rights of the Child, the National Youth in Care Network, Portage, Chrysalis House, Champions for Children and Youth, the Muriel McQueen Ferguson Foundation for Family Violence and the Crime Prevention Association of New Brunswick.

Ms. Reid focused her research on youth justice and worked with young people in conflict with the law to help inform her understanding of the key issues they faced. In 2002, she was involved in the creation of the Centre for Research on Youth at Risk, and established a youth-led initiative, Youth Matters, at St. Thomas University. She collaborated with incarcerated youth leaders to establish a Youth Matters chapter at the New Brunswick Youth Centre. The centre became a partner with the Students Commission of Canada/Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement and acts as the eastern hub.

The Centre for Research on Youth at Risk was renamed the Centre for Research with Vulnerable Women and Youth in 2019. The new name reflects the expanded commitment to work with the New Brunswick Women’s Correctional Centre in Miramichi, to engage the women in research projects and in the creation of programming on trauma, victimization and gender-based violence. Ms. Reid continues to volunteer at regular meetings with Youth Matters and the sister program for women, Women’s Matters.

Her commitment to youth and emerging adults has had a lasting impact in the classroom as well. With her students, Ms. Reid collected books for incarcerated youth in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, mittens for Fredericton children through STUMitts, clothing for incarcerated women through STUnningly Successful in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and she has participated in youth homelessness fundraisers in Fredericton for 12 Homeless Hours and nationally with Push for Change.

Susan Reid is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for her incredible dedication to social justice through her applied research and programming in the areas of youth justice, trauma, victimization and gender-based violence, and for her promotion of volunteerism and social action.




Brent Staeben, renowned as long time chair and current music director of the beloved Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, has contributed significantly to the social and cultural vibrancy of Fredericton and New Brunswick.

Originally from Corner Brook, N.L., he joined the board of directors of Fredericton’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in 1992. In 1994, as chair, he helped develop a festival business model showcasing international-class performances along with stage opportunities for local and regional artists. The combination of his vision and fiscal responsibility has helped to ensure the festival’s long-term financial sustainability. For the last two decades, he’s been the music director of the festival, which is recognised today as one of North America’s premier music festivals, giving New Brunswickers the opportunity to see the finest international talent.

While contributing to making this festival an important economic driver for the tourism industry in New Brunswick, he was also instrumental in developing workshops and grant programs for young musicians and providing first-time stage performance opportunities for both anglophone and francophone artists. As well, he created the Festival’s Blues in the Schools Program which has impacted more than 40,000 local school children by exposing them to blues artists and their music at an early age.

Mr. Staeben prioritizes community leadership with other organizations as well. As a school band champion, he helped parents of a local elementary and middle school revitalize their music program with the purchase of new instruments and a renewed enthusiasm for the schools’ music programs. He has volunteered for many years with both the Fredericton Aquanauts Swim Club and the Fredericton District Soccer Association.

Brent Staeben is receiving the Order of New Brunswick for his steadfast dedication to cultural enrichment and economic development, and for empowering our youth to build their capacity to positively contribute to society.