Manitoba Lieutenant Governor

Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba

The Honourable Anita R. Neville, P.C., O.M.

Jewish Child & Family Services Newcomer Seniors Event

Remarks by

The Honourable Anita Neville, P.C., O.M.

Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba


Thursday, June 29, 2023, 10:00 a.m.

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Friends, Manitobans – it is a privilege to join you to celebrate Canada Day and the learning you have accomplished through Jewish Child and Family Services.

As Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, I honour and acknowledge that we are gathered on Treaty One land, and in the heartland of the Red River Metis.

This beautiful and diverse province is also the ancestral and the present-day home of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples.

I also recognize that northern Manitoba includes lands that were, and are, the ancestral lands of the Inuit.

Together, we will continue to work to hear truths, and to advance understanding, opportunity, and healing for all.

With Canada Day approaching, I cannot think of a better way to mark the occasion than to join a group of newcomers in this community who have been learning about this country, its people and its history.

On Saturday, across Canada, people of all ages and all backgrounds will come together to celebrate and to commit to maintaining and building a nation that realizes its potential to be a welcoming, just, peaceful and healthy home.

At those gatherings, new Canadians will be among the most enthusiastic. And at those celebrations, Canadians will think of how people of different cultures and languages have built the country we live in today.

That celebration of diversity has deep roots here in Manitoba.  This is where the first waves of non-English and non-French speaking newcomers found homes in the 19th century.  Among the first to come were large groups of Ukrainians, German-speaking Mennonites and Icelanders.

By the early years of the 20th century, Manitoba became home to many more newcomer communities from southern and eastern Europe – communities that included my grandparents, who came here to seek opportunity for their families and escape a climate of murderous antisemitism. And over the past century, new waves of immigration have brought people from every continent to our province and country.

I thought of my grandparents last fall, when I was installed as Manitoba’s 26th Lieutenant Governor in a ceremony at the Manitoba Legislative Building.

Could they ever have imagined that their grand-daughter would someday represent the King of Canada? And how would I explain what that means?

The role of Lieutenant Governor has two key aspects: a constitutional role and a ceremonial and celebratory role.

The constitutional role of the Lieutenant Governor is to ensure that the democratic will of Manitobans is respected and that Manitoba always has a duly constituted government.

After an election, the Lieutenant Governor invites the leader of the party that has won the most seats in the Legislature to form a government. The Lieutenant Governor summons the Legislative Assembly to meet and reads the Throne Speech, which lays out the government’s goals for the upcoming session. Decisions made by the cabinet of the government must be signed by the Lieutenant Governor to become the law.

The ceremonial function includes meeting Manitobans at events like this and representing Manitoba in giving out honours for exemplary public service, volunteer service and accomplishments in all walks of life.

An essential aspect of the position is that the Lieutenant Governor represents the Sovereign but does not wield power. The Lieutenant Governor – like the Governor General – is a unifying figure who is not involved in the debates and political campaigns of the day.

This separation of political power from symbolic authority means that in Canada, the symbolism of the nation and the country’s identity is not the property of any one political party or movement.

As the representative of the Sovereign, the Lieutenant Governor is Manitoba’s connection to nearly 1,000 years of the evolution of representative democracy, rights and liberties. Personally, that was something I experienced directly when I had the privilege to meet King Charles this spring just before his coronation.

It was an inspiring and – I have to confess – surreal moment for me. But it gave me powerful understanding of many centuries of the growth of democracy and human rights that have created the Canada of today.

And now I congratulate you on joining in this journey and thank you for adding new stories, ideas, traditions and experiences to the story of Canada.

Thank you. Happy Canada Day. Merci. Meegwich.