Province Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Northern Manitoba

by NationTalk on May 14, 2012507 Views

News Release – Manitoba
May 10, 2012

North Remains Key to Manitoba’s Growth, Prosperity: Premier

Premier Greg Selinger hosted a special event at the Legislative Building today to celebrate the unique culture and contributions of northern Manitobans, 100 years after the province’s borders were expanded north in 1912.

“Throughout our shared history, the north has been key to Manitoba’s success,” said Selinger. “Today is about honouring the Aboriginal people, pioneers and communities who built this great province. Looking forward, northerners will continue to play a critical role in Manitoba’s future growth and prosperity.”Manitoba’s original boundaries were established on July 15, 1870. At that time, the province was approximately 1/18 of its current size and known as the ‘postage stamp province.’ Its boundaries were expanded twice: once in 1881 and a second, final expansion north on May 12, 1912.

“I am proud to be from northern Manitoba,” said Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson. “The First Peoples of this land and the northern settlers who followed have worked together throughout our history to establish the unique culture and vibrant communities that are now central to the Manitoba identity and experience.”

The anniversary celebration at the Legislative Building included the first public performance of a new song called Home is Manitoba, by Métis musician J. J. Lavalee. Several historical maps showcasing the province’s evolving boundaries were also on display, on loan from the provincial archives.

The premier said that developing the vast potential of the north and northerners has always been a priority of the current provincial government. The province established the Northern Development Strategy in 2000 as a vision to guide development in the areas of education and training, economic development, transportation, health and housing. The premier noted progress made under the strategy since its creation including:

• establishing the University College of the North with facilities in 14 communities to meet the unique education and training needs and opportunities of the north;
• building the Wuskwatim Generating Station, the first-ever equity partnership between Manitoba Hydro and a First Nation;
• creating the First Peoples Economic Growth Fund and the Métis Economic Development Fund, and expanding the Communities Economic Development Fund to help northern and Aboriginal entrepreneurs succeed and create jobs;
• beginning work on an all-season road network to connect isolated communities east of Lake Winnipeg;
• finalizing a proposal to secure UNESCO World Heritage inscription for the largest protected-area network in the North American boreal shield;
• building dialysis treatment centres in Garden Hill, Norway House and Berens River to ensure northerners can access life-saving treatment closer to home;
• investing in the Port of Churchill while pursuing increased trade and co-operation with Nunavut; and
• creating the Northern Healthy Foods Initiative, resulting in over 800 gardens, nearly 60 greenhouses, poultry and livestock operations in over a dozen communities, and a community freezer program to promote harvesting and preservation of traditional foods in the north.

“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together in the north,” said Selinger. “With new jobs and partnerships related to hydro development, new all-season roads to connect more communities and a world-class ecotourism destination all underway, the future has never looked brighter.”

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