02/13/2013 11:57 EST | Updated 04/15/2013 05:12 EDT

Ottawa Valley Mayors Return Diamond Jubilee Medals

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Two Ottawa Valley mayors have sent back their Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals, disagreeing with the way they were awarded.

Raye-Anne Briscoe of Admaston/Bromley and Peter Emon of Greater Madawaska Township said they felt they were given medals simply for being a mayor, diminishing the accomplishments of other winners in their communities.

The Diamond Jubilee Medal was awarded to about 60,000 Canadians over the past year as a celebration of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's ascension to the throne. The award was meant to recognize the achievements of Canadians and their dedication to service.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) said it nominated about 1,500 mayors across Canada as a way to recognize their communities as a whole, but both Briscoe and Emon said the notifications made it seem like it was for them in particular.

"Somebody had all these medals left over and they said 'OK, here’s a way to get rid of the rest of them, let’s just (give) them out to the mayors across the country to get rid of a problem,'" said Briscoe.

"I will be a part of 15 ceremonies honouring members of the community by the end of this month and in each one I've been very impressed by the accomplishments," Emon told host Robyn Bresnahan onOttawa Morning.

"I just didn’t feel it was right for me to receive a medal because I was on a list somewhere and I was a mayor, to me it lessened the impact of what I had been witnessing."

FCM says message could have been clearer

Gabriel Miller heads the Diamond Jubilee medal program at the FCM and said they decided to celebrate communities as a whole.

He said he agrees the message could have been clearer.

"You can’t nominate an entire community, so that’s why we decided to nominate mayors and heads of council," he said.

"I think if there’s anything we can learn as an organization from this experience is just how important it is not just to nominate people for these medals, but communicate very clearly with them exactly why you’ve nominated them."

Briscoe said that Miller called her and told her if they were to do it over again, the e-mail would have focused on the community and not her work.

Miller said if the mayors would rather their medals went to deserving community members, they would support the decision.

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