The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Monday, March 9, 2020 – 4:00 p.m.
Friends, fellow Manitobans, advocates for international understanding and co-operation – it’s a pleasure to join you in celebrating Commonwealth Day during this very special year.
We are gathered on Treaty One land, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Metis people.
I acknowledge that the Anishinaabe and Metis people lived here long before this place became known as Winnipeg. And our province remains home to a large and vibrant Indigenous community.
That acknowledgement – something that has become a standard feature of so many public gatherings – is especially relevant on a day like today.
It is important that we recall how Manitoba was born as a sort of Commonwealth of Nations – as a place that united French and English-speaking Metis, English-speaking arrivals from Ontario, descendants of Scottish settlers, Anishinaabe and Cree first nations, and more.
And it is important to remember that archaeological evidence points to gatherings of nations that predated the birth of Manitoba by more than a thousand years.
So when we celebrate the Commonwealth of Nations, we are celebrating a spirit of coming together that really is a central part of who we are.
Membership in the Commonwealth brings nations together to support international understanding, research, education, peace and prosperity. Commonwealth nations have a variety of historical and cultural ties that are worth sharing and worth building upon.
Flying the flags of the 53 member nations at the Manitoba Legislature – especially as we approach the 150th anniversary of the establishment of our province – is a lovely way of demonstrating that the values of the Commonwealth are our values.
Manitobans are “united in celebration” of their province in 2020. And we are also united in celebration of our province’s and our nation’s connections to the world at large.
Thank you to the Royal Commonwealth Society for enhancing our celebrations and our understanding this year and every year.