Biography of His Honour
HONOURABLE GARY ALBERT FILMON, P.C., O.C., O.M., L.L.D.
Gary Filmon was sworn in as Manitoba’s 19th Premier on May 9, 1988. He was re-elected in September 1990 and again in April 1995. He served as Minister of Federal-Provincial Relations and Chairman of the Economic Development Board of Cabinet.
A graduate engineer, Mr. Filmon was first elected to the Manitoba Legislature as a government member in the River Heights by-election of October 1979. He became Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs and Environment and assumed responsibility for the Manitoba Housing Renewal Corporation in January of 1981.
Re-elected in 1981, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1995 and 1999 as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Tuxedo, he was Leader of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party from December 1983 to May 2000.
He attended the University of Manitoba, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree (Civil Engineering) in 1964. Following postgraduate work, he earned his Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering in 1967.
He served as a consulting engineer for five years with Underwood McLellan Ltd. and for the next 11 years was President of Success/Angus Commercial College.
For four years, starting in 1975, he was a Winnipeg City Councillor, serving as Chairman of the Committee on Works and Operations and as a member of the Executive Policy Committee.
Among his community activities, he has served as President of the University of Manitoba Alumni Association, President of the Association of Canadian Career Colleges, member of the Senate of the University of Manitoba, Director of the Administrative Management Society, Director of the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club and Director of the Red River Exhibition Board.
Mr. Filmon’s stewardship in government saw Manitoba’s finances improve from a period of chronic annual deficits in the half-billion dollar range to the first balanced budget in 23 years in 1995 to 1996. Mr. Filmon chaired Treasury Board during the critical first five years of his administration and eventually saw the province achieve an increase in its credit rating to double A Status.
Mr. Filmon governed during a period of tremendous challenge – participating in two major constitutional rounds – Meech Lake and Charlottetown, the second worst recession in the 20th century in Canada, an unprecedented round of transfer payment cuts, the worst forest fires of the century in 1989 and the Flood of the century on the Red River in 1997.
His steady hand on the affairs of government saw the province of Manitoba achieve record levels of G.D.P., employment, exports and manufacturing production by the end of his tenure in government.
Mr. Filmon was Chair of the Review Commission into the British Columbia Forest Fire Disaster in 2003. His report entitled Firestorm 2003 contained 43 recommendations, all of which were adopted by the government of British Columbia.
Mr. Filmon’s achievements have been recognized by numerous organizations including the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers Community Service Award 1992, B’Nai B’rith Canada Award of Merit – 1991, Centre For Ukrainian Canadian Studies Tribute Dinner – 1997, The Jewish National Fund of Canada Negev Dinner Honoree – 1996 and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Manitoba Branch & Ukrainian Professional and Business Club of Winnipeg Tribute Dinner – 2000. Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Manitoba – 2005. Ignation Challenge Award, St. Paul’s High School – 2005, the Intrepid Award- 2008, Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Manitoba, 2011.
He was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2009, inducted to the Order of Manitoba in July 2001 and was sworn in as a Member of the Queen’s Privy Council in October 2001and Lifetime Honoree, Fort Whyte Environmental Centre 2009.
He has served as Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the Canadian Health Industries Partnership; Co-Chair of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Campaign of Caring, 2005-2006; Co-Chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Manitoba; Walkathon, 2002 and Member of The Institute of Corporate Directors (Manitoba) Advisory Board 2005 to 2008; Director of the Canada West Foundation, 2005 to 2009; Director of the Investment Dealer’s Association of Canada, 2000 to 2001; Director of Moffat Communications Limited, 2000 to 2001; Director and Lead Independent Trustee of Pollard Banknote Income Fund, 2005 to 2008; Member and Chair, Security Intelligence Review Committee, 2001 to 2010; Treasurer of the Canadian Olympic Foundation, 2007 to 2010; Director of Wellington West Capital Inc., 2001 to 2010; Director and Chairman of FWS Construction Ltd., 2000 to 2014; Director of MTS Allstream Inc., 2003 to 2015.
He is currently a member of the Board of the Friends of Upper Fort Garry, an organization committed to restore the Fort which was Manitoba’s birthplace.
He is currently a Director and Trustee of Arctic Glacier Income Trust; Chairman of Exchange Income Corporation; a Director of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.; and a Director of the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors.