A Statement from Myrna Driedger, MLA Roblin
After almost 25 years in public office, I have made the decision not to seek re-election in the 2023 provincial election. The time has come for new adventures.
It has been a great honour and privilege to have served the constituents of Charleswood and now Headingley as MLA since 1998.
I appreciate the confidence placed in me when asked to serve in various caucus positions over the years, including Legislative Assistant to the Ministers of Health and Families, Health, Finance & Education Critic, Interim Leader of the PC Party of Manitoba, and Deputy Leader.
I am proud to have had five (5) Private Member's Bills passed during my career. Most notably those that helped to prevent sexual assaults caused by date rape drugs and increase awareness, and to establish the Nellie McClung Foundation. The latter led to the monument of Nellie McClung and the Famous Five on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature.
My advocacy over many years to have a dedicated stroke unit and a women's heart health program became a reality after the 2016 election. As a former neuroscience nurse, I was determined to do everything I could to have a gold-standard stroke unit in Manitoba, and I am most grateful to see this about to become a reality.
While it was never my intention to pursue the position of Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, being elected twice by my colleagues to serve as Speaker has been a demanding but rewarding experience. I am honoured to have worked with our legislative team to enhance our programs and services, modernize the workings of the Legislative Assembly, and implement a leadership development program that resulted in the first Mission, Values, and Aims Statements for the Assembly.
As Speaker, I have experienced many unique opportunities. I led our Assembly through the COVID-19 Pandemic. I created and curated the content of a time capsule in celebration of the 100th birthday of the Manitoba Legislative Building. I oversaw the historic Manitoba Legislative Chamber renovation to improve accessibility. I initiated a Women Trailblazers of the First 100 years permanent exhibit at the Legislature and a Vote100 permanent exhibition to recognize Manitoba women as the first in Canada to be granted the vote. I am also pleased to co-chair the Manitoba Legislative Building Restoration and Preservation Advisory Committee.
As a strong advocate for women in leadership, I was pleased to see Manitoba welcome their first female premier.
Over the years, I became very aware of women's challenges in getting into politics and other leadership roles. I developed a deep commitment to addressing this deficit through my provincial, national, and international positions with the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). It culminated in my appointment as president of CWP International in 2022.
One of my most fulfilling achievements in Charleswood is the development of the Charleswood 55+ Active Living Centre following my initiative to bring seniors together to celebrate the International Year of Older Persons. The other is the Community Leaders Networking Luncheons where community leaders come together twice a year to network, connect, and form community partnerships that benefit our community.
While I do not intend to seek re-election, I will continue to work hard to represent my constituents over the next several months.
I want to thank the residents of Charleswood and Headingley for entrusting me as their representative through seven (7) elections. I also want to thank my wonderful Constituency Assistants, Constituency Association, and all my supporters throughout my years in politics for their commitment to me and for their tireless efforts to support me. I offer my sincere appreciation and want them to know I will forever be grateful and humbled.
Thank you to my family, friends, my constituents, and the many volunteers, past and present, for the incredible trust and support you have given me over the years.
I would also like to acknowledge the many members of the PC Caucus, whom I have had the privilege to work with and enjoy friendships for over 25 years.
I am genuinely thankful for my journey in public life and look forward to what the next chapter will bring. I also look forward to more time with my family, especially my two young granddaughters.
Public Service has been an honour and a privilege.