Eleven new members have been selected to receive the province’s highest honour, the Order of Manitoba.
The announcement, made today by Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon, chancellor of the order, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence and achievement in a variety of fields of endeavor that have benefited the social, cultural and economic well-being of Manitoba and its residents.
“While the individual accomplishments of the women and men recommended this year for investiture are wide ranging, they share a common spirit of giving and commitment to community for which Manitobans are known,” said the lieutenant-governor. “Whether their impact is felt at the local, national or international levels, they are each a credit to our province and our country.”
Those to be invested in 2016 are:
- Paul Albrechtsen, a trucking magnate, business leader and philanthropist. Founder of one of the leading bulk transport services in Western Canada, the Paul Albrechtsen Foundation has benefited many organizations including the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, which now bears his family name.
- Marileen Bartlett, a Métis woman, community leader and entrepreneur, she has dedicated more than
30 years to leadership in the field of Indigenous employment and training. She is also a firm believer that equitable access to education and training are essential to equitable participation by Indigenous people in the economy.
- Maria De Nardi, the daughter of Italian immigrants, has contributed to the enrichment of Italian culture in Manitoba and was a founder of the Lupa di Roma Sons of Italy organization. She was instrumental in creating the Manitoba chapter of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and also co-founded a wholesale food distribution business serving Western Canada.
- Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, past president and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba (2003 to 2013) who introduced many leading-edge advancements in the prevention, rapid diagnosis and treatment of cancer. He also increased rural patients’ access to cancer care and treatment through enhanced regional cancer centres.
- Chief Betsy Kennedy, the longest-serving female chief in Manitoba, became chief of the War Lake First Nation in 2006. She has overseen the development of many health, environmental and economic additions to her community.
- Dr. Gary Kobinger, one of the world’s leading researchers in the global fight against Ebola. As chief of the special pathogens program at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, he has been deployed to Africa several times as part of a mobile lab team to fight Ebola at its origin, helping to reduce the risk of it spreading to Canada.
- Wanda Koop, one of Canada’s pre-eminent contemporary artists and community activists, who, for more than 40 years, has made a substantial contribution to Canadian art. With more than 50 solo exhibits worldwide, she also founded Art City, offering free art programs for inner-city youth.
- Reggie Leach, despite enduring racism and poverty as a child, ‘The Riverton Rifle’ went on to become one of the most gifted hockey players of his generation. With 13 seasons in the National Hockey League, he was named to the all-star team in 1976 and 1980, and also played for Team Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup tournament.
- Bernadette Smith, best known for her dedication to pursuing justice for Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous girls and women. She is a leader in her community and across Canada.
- Susan Thompson, the first and only woman mayor of Winnipeg who saw the city through its largest crisis in 100 years, the flood of 1997. She was also the first woman consul general at the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis and the founding president and CEO of the University of Winnipeg Foundation.
- Wanbdi Wakita, a Dakota spiritual leader, residential school survivor and a veteran of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry peacekeeping mission in Europe. Most recently, he has spent more than 30 years working as an elder in federal, provincial and territorial prisons, and has devoted his life to teaching and healing the relationship between First Nations and non-First Nations people.
Recipients are selected by an independent advisory council that evaluates all nominations received and then recommends up to 12 candidates each year to the chancellor. Once inducted into the order, members may use the initials O.M. after their names for life.
This year’s investiture will take place at a ceremony to be held July 7 at the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Contact: Dwight MacAulay, secretary, Order of Manitoba Advisory Council, 204-945-3939
From humble beginnings, Paul Albrechtsen became a trucking magnate, business leader and remarkable philanthropist. At age 24, he immigrated to Canada from Denmark with $50 in his pocket and found work as a field mechanic in Virden. Living in tool sheds to save money, he bought two trucks in the space of two years and, in 1956, founded Paul’s Hauling Ltd., of which he is still president and CEO. In addition to his business acumen, he is committed to giving back to his community. Through the Paul Albrechtsen Foundation, many organizations have benefited from his altruism including the Reh-Fit Centre, St. Paul’s High School, the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the Health Sciences Centre. In April 2015, Paul Albrechtsen donated $5 million in support of cardiac research to the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, which now bears his family name. Combined with previous donations, he is the most significant donor in the hospital’s history.
A Métis woman, community leader and entrepreneur, Marileen Bartlett has dedicated more than
30 years to leadership in the field of Indigenous employment and training. As executive director of the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development and the Neeginan Centre, she strongly believes that equitable access to education and training are essential to equitable participation by Indigenous people in the economy. Through her work and leadership in the community, she continues to develop employment, training and education services for more than 2,000 Indigenous people each year. Many Indigenous business leaders, educators, entrepreneurs and political leaders have found mentorship, training and opportunities within the community at the Neeginan Centre.
Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal
Past president and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba (2003 to 2013), Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal introduced a number of advancements in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Born in India, he spent his formative years in Britain, graduating from medicine and later earned a doctorate in immunology from the Birmingham Medical School, England. An accomplished medical oncologist, clinical researcher and physician-administrator, Dr. Dhaliwal introduced the Home Oncology Program, the Surgical Oncology Network, the Provincial Oncology Drug Program, the Manitoba Cancer Patient Journey Initiative, the Quality Patient Safety portfolio, the Patient Navigation Program and the Colorectal Screening Program, which was a first in Canada. He also increased rural patients’ access to cancer care and treatment through enhanced regional cancer centres and was instrumental to the opening of the new Western Manitoba Cancer Centre and the establishment of Manitoba’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit Cancer Control program.
Maria De Nardi
The daughter of Italian immigrants, Maria De Nardi has contributed to the enrichment and promotion of the Italian culture in Manitoba and was one of the founders of the Lupa di Roma Sons of Italy and the Manitoba Chapter of the Italian Chamber of Commerce. In 1972, she was a founding partner of
La Grotta Del Formaggio, and in 1983, co-founded Mondo Foods Co. Ltd., a wholesale food distribution business serving the pizza industry, retail grocery stores and restaurants across Western Canada, which today operates 100,000 square feet of warehouse and retail space and employs more than 100 people. In 1994, she founded La Boutique Del Vino, one of the foremost wine boutiques in Winnipeg and in 1999, the Piazza De Nardi Complex, a cornerstone retail destination. Through individual efforts, Maria De Nardi has been a supporter of numerous charities throughout Manitoba.
Chief Betsy Kennedy
With the distinction of being the longest-serving female chief in Manitoba, Betsy Kennedy became chief of the War Lake First Nation in 2006 and since that time, the community has seen the development of a nursing station, a new store, garage, water treatment plant, youth centre and a community fish facility. As chief, she was instrumental in securing approval for the Keeyask Development Agreement, which ensures the benefits of Keeyask, such as job training and employment, are realized by her community. In 2014, Chief Kennedy addressed the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women about how women and children living in First Nation communities can be better served by the federal government.
Dr. Gary Kobinger
Dr. Gary Kobinger is one of the world’s leading researchers in the global fight against the Ebola virus and is the chief of the special pathogens program at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. As the driving force behind the development of two of the three disease-fighting proteins that form the experimental Ebola treatment, ZMapp, he has been deployed to Africa several times as part of the mobile lab teams that diagnose and fight Ebola at its origin, helping to reduce the risk of spread to Canada. These front-line efforts, key to quelling the Ebola outbreak, inspired Time magazine to declare the Ebola fighters as its ‘Person of the Year’ for 2014. Dr. Kobinger and his Winnipeg-based team have also been featured in reports by National Geographic, 60 Minutes and the BBC.
Wanda Koop, C.M.
Wanda Koop is one of Canada’s pre-eminent contemporary artists and community activists who has made a substantial contribution to Canadian art in her exploration of urbanization and its interaction with the natural world. For more than four decades, she has created a prolific body of work, now featured in numerous private collections and several prestigious museums in Canada and around the world. With more than 50 solo exhibitions nationally and internationally, Time magazine listed her as one of Canada’s best artists. Active in the West Broadway community, she founded Art City (1998), a community arts centre offering free art programs for inner-city youth.
A member of the Berens River First Nation, and despite enduring racism and poverty and playing on borrowed skates for much of his childhood, Reggie Leach went on to become one of the most gifted hockey players of his generation. His speed and outstanding shooting ability earned him the nickname, ‘The Riverton Rifle.’ Reggie Leach retired after 13 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) including playing a key role in the Philadelphia Flyers’ 1974-75 Stanley Cup winning season. In an NHL career that spanned 934 games, Reggie Leach was named to the NHL All-Star team in 1976 and 1980, and also played for Team Canada in the 1976 Canada Cup tournament. In his post-NHL career, Reggie Leach continues to offer hockey schools in remote communities throughout Canada and to inspire young people – both through his own life experiences and by encouraging healthy life choices.
Bernadette Smith, best known for her dedication in pursuing justice for Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous girls and women, is a leader in her community and across Canada. After her sister, Claudette Osborne-Tyo, went missing in 2008, Bernadette dedicated herself to seeking answers and justice. She has organized vigils, spoken at public events, lends her support to families going through this experience and has helped develop a missing persons and persons-at-risk tool kit, recognized as an essential resource for the loved ones of women who go missing. The kit includes advice, a customizable missing persons poster and communications logs with law enforcement. In 2013, Bernadette Smith spoke to the House of Commons Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women and has recently produced the seventh annual No Stone Unturned, an all-day concert, to raise awareness of the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Former Winnipeg mayor Susan Thompson has been inspirational to Manitobans in her roles as community leader, entrepreneur, politician, diplomat and philanthropic fundraiser. She was the first and only woman mayor of Winnipeg, the first woman consul general at the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis, and was the founding president and CEO of the University of Winnipeg Foundation. Elected mayor of Winnipeg for two terms in 1992 and 1995, she saw the city through the largest crisis Winnipeg had faced in 100 years – the flood of 1997. As mayor, she championed economic development, relationship building with the Aboriginal community and the continuing revitalization of Winnipeg’s downtown. She also helped bring major sporting events to Winnipeg including the World Junior Hockey Championship, the Grey Cup, the Pan Am Games and the World Indigenous Games.
Wanbdi Wakita is a Dakota spiritual leader who has devoted his life to teaching and healing and continues to share his culture with anyone who asks for help. He has worked tirelessly to support the healing of individuals, communities and the relationship between First Nations and non-First Nations people. A residential school survivor and a veteran with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry peacekeeping mission in Europe, more recently he has spent more than 30 years working as an Aboriginal spiritual caregiver in federal, provincial and territorial prisons and currently works with the inmates at Milner Ridge Correctional Centre. As chief of the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, he developed a culturally unique senior citizens’ home and established two medical boarding homes to house Indigenous clients from northern communities visiting Winnipeg for medical care. He continues to share his culture with anyone who asks for help and is a strong advocate for the preservation of the Dakota language.