The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Victoria Inn and Conference Centre
Thursday, May 16, 2019 – 6:00 p.m.
Dignitaries, leaders, decision makers, volunteers, special guests – Pearl McGonigal’s family, supporters of a great hospital and admirers of a great Manitoban – it’s an honour to join you in paying tribute to a leader, a pathfinder and a friend.
I would like to acknowledge that we’ve come together on land that has long been the home of the Anishinaabe, and the Metis people and remains the home of the largest Indigenous community in Canada.
We’ve gathered here tonight with two purposes: to support a hospital that has been integral to the health of this community for well over a century, and to recognize a great Manitoban who has dedicated herself to the Grace Hospital for more than 40 years.
You will hear more tonight about the successes of the Grace Hospital Foundation under the leadership of Pearl McGonigal and the guidance she provided during her terms as chair of the hospital’s board of management.
You will hear about the millions of dollars raised and about the development of new facilities to provide for patient care.
They are a few of the many positive effects of Pearl’s leadership in this city and province.
In addition to the impact of the things she has done, we should also remember the powerful effect she has had by inspiring others.
I thought of Pearl when the opportunity to take on the role of Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba presented itself. She had been before – as the first woman in Manitoba to be vice regal representative and only the second in all of Canada.
But, I will share an experience I had with Pearl when she was Lieutenant Governor that I think says something about her.
Gary and I were invited to a dinner at Government House in the ‘80s one time while he was leader of the Opposition. I remember the dress I wore – I think I still have it. It was a fabulous silk number with royal blue and purple.
When we arrived and saw Pearl, my jaw dropped. We were wearing the exact same dress.
Pearl just smiled, said it looked nice on me and then went upstairs and changed.
She certainly could have stayed the way she was, but she knew I’d feel self-conscious. And she had the humanity and the good humour to just laugh it off and do something to make a guest feel more comfortable.
I think her actions remind us that being an inspiration to others doesn’t just depend on the big projects you oversee or the big decisions you make. The little things you do because you care – those matter to people in a big way.
Pearl has inspired thousands of other people in this city and province to find ways that they too can serve their community – and do so with kindness and humanity.
Her example has led to a stronger Grace Hospital and to a province that is better able to benefit from the talents and energy of all its people.
Thank you for your example and your dedication, Pearl, and thank you all for your commitment to a healthy Manitoba.