View From the Legislature

Manitoba Remembers

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

This Remembrance Day Manitobans will again be able to gather in large numbers to pay their respects to those that have served our nation in the past in support of freedom at home and abroad. At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians across our country will fall silent to remember those who lost their lives in service of the nation.

Since the last Friday of October, the traditional lapel Poppy has been seen worn over the hearts of Canadians. The wearing of the Poppy, which became a symbol of remembrance featured in the poem by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae in the First World War, is just one act of traditional remembrance by Canadians. The laying of wreaths is also an annual feature of Remembrance Day to show the support of government and many organizations. The annual Steinbach Remembrance Day ceremony, organized by the local Legion, draws hundreds of residents wanting to show their respect for people they have never met, but who gave so much for each of us.

This Remembrance Day is especially poignant because Manitoba has again stepped up to support a nation in conflict. The war in Ukraine which began because of the unjust invasion by Vladimir Putin, has resulted in Canada both imposing sanctions on Russia but also providing support to Ukraine through equipment and other measures. Canada also began welcoming thousands of Ukrainians who were fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

Manitoba has also been assisting in these efforts. Our province has provided $800,000 in humanitarian aid to Ukraine as well as almost 300 soft body-armour vests. Most impressively, Manitoba has welcomed more Ukrainians fleeing the war on a per capita basis than any other province in Canada. With over 11,600 Ukrainians registering at the Manitoba reception and welcome centre, it has taken the collective effort of Manitobans to help find accommodations and support for those who have come to our province. Many have quickly found employment and are being welcomed into communities, made easier by the fact that so many Manitobans have such a strong connection with Ukraine.

In this very tangible way, Manitobans are showing that they remember and appreciate the sacrifice that war often brings. They not only take the time on Remembrance Day to show this appreciation but have demonstrated it during this past year through their efforts to support those who have been displaced by the war in Ukraine. Manitoba has often punched above its weight when it comes to humanitarian efforts and is doing so again in its support for those coming from Ukraine.

As Manitobans pause on Remembrance Day to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed for us, all around us there is tangible evidence that this is not just a symbolic act confined to one day, but an ongoing commitment to support those who are not enjoying the advantages that we have as Canadians.