View From the Legislature

Manitoba Day Like Few Others

  • Kelvin Goertzen, Author
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly, Steinbach

This past Tuesday was Manitoba Day. For some it may have passed without notice as there are many other things occupying our thoughts these days. But whether it was celebrated or not, it was a very special day in the history of our province. On May 12, 1870, 150 years ago, The Manitoba Act was passed in the Parliament of Canada. This Act created our province and officially welcomed us into the Canadian Confederation.

Traditionally on Manitoba Day there are a number of celebrations that are held across the province. One of those takes place at the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) museum where I have enjoyed participating many times on behalf of the Government of Manitoba. I also often get the opportunity to speak to local students about the importance of Manitoba Day and the wonderful history of our province. This past Tuesday, those activities still took place, but in a very different way as a virtual Manitoba Day was held online with the MHV and I was able to participate in a Grade 9 class discussion with students of the Steinbach Christian School via Zoom.

All around Manitoba, things are being done differently these days. Even though our COVID19 cases remain low compared to many places in North America and the restrictions we are under are less than most other jurisdictions, things are not what any of us would consider normal. In fact, this year there were many special events marking Manitoba’s 150th year in Confederation that have had to be postponed until public gathering sizes are increased.

But during this pandemic, Manitobans are doing what Manitobans always do in difficult and trying times. We are rallying together and helping those around us adjust to the changes we are all facing. Throughout the 150 year history of Manitoba this has always been our response to trying times. In my own memory, I vividly recall the heroic effort that was put forward by all Manitobans fighting significant floods in 1997 and in 2011. I have heard the stories of those who were involved, both at home and overseas, in World War I and World War II and of the incredible sacrifices that were made by Manitobans. In times of challenge, whether conflict, floods, fires or pandemics, Manitobans come together to encourage, sustain, and inspire each other.

There are many things that have changed in Manitoba over the past 150 years. But there are many things that remain the same. We remain a place that welcomes people from around the world to begin and build a new and better life for themselves and their families. We are still a province that is knitted together by strong communities and strong values. And even though this past Manitoba Day was like few others before it, there remains so much to celebrate about Manitoba today, and so much to look forward to in our province in the years ahead.

I hope that each of you have a wonderful May long weekend.