I would like to take this opportunity to thank our 25th Lieutenant Governor, Honourable Janice Filmon for her many years of public service to Manitobans – first as the wife of Premier Gary Filmon (1988 – 1999) and then as the 25th Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba (2015 – 2022). Honourable Janice Filmon is only the second female LG in Manitoba. The first one was Pearl McGonigal who served from 1981 to 1989. As she said at the time of her appointment, “It’s about time for a second female Lieutenant Governor.” Mrs. Filmon was appointed as LG on June 19, 2015; she was the viceregal representative of Queen Elizabeth of Canada prior to the Queen’s passing and for a short time King Charles III.
Each of the ten Canadian provinces has a Lieutenant Governor. He or she is appointed by the Governor General, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, usually for a period of five years. A Lieutenant Governor is the highest-ranking officer of the province and represents His (Her) Majesty The King (Queen) in his/her jurisdiction.
The Lieutenant Governor's constitutional duties include, among others:
Swearing in the provincial government's Executive Council (Premier and Cabinet);
Opening each session of the provincial legislative assembly; and
Providing Royal Assent to provincial bills.
The Lieutenant Governor's ceremonial and community functions include, among others:
Promoting a sense of identity;
Representing The Queen in the province;
Acting as the province's official host;
Supporting social causes; and
Recognizing outstanding citizens.
Shortly after her appointment, Mrs. Filmon commented that she and her husband were chuckling about the role reversal. She was used to her husband as Premier being introduced first and she was there as his spouse. Then the roles were reversed, and she was one receiving “top billing” with her supportive husband walking behind.
Each Lieutenant Governor chooses areas that they wish to support based on their own interests and causes. Honourable Janice Filmon has long been known for her philanthropy and community activism. She was Past Chair & Member of the Board of Directors for Cancer Care. She has been involved with so many organizations over the years – too many to list in this article. One of the organizations that I was happy to be involved as a founding member along with Mrs. Filmon, is the Nellie McClung Foundation. We started out with a dream to celebrate Nellie McClung and how she was responsible for women getting the vote for the first time in 1916. This Foundation was responsible for a historic statue being erected on the grounds of the Legislature. In addition to bringing attention to how important it was to have women considered full citizens, the Foundation also celebrates other young women with awards and scholarships for their efforts in this regard.
Born in Winnipeg, Mrs. Filmon was raised with the belief that individual efforts can make a powerful difference. She possesses a superior fundraising acumen - which she focuses entirely on worthy causes, most recently as Chair of the Nellie McClung Foundation. Past successes include, among many others, the $26 million Foundations for Health Campaign and the $15 million Manitoba Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation campaign.
Mrs. Filmon holds a BSc (Home Economics) degree and is past chairman of the University of Manitoba Alumni Association. As the wife of Gary Filmon, a mother of four grown children and grandmother to nine precious grandchildren and great grandchild, she is powered by a tireless commitment to people, and through this, has been driven to make significant contributions to her community and beyond.
She has been honoured with the Guardian Angel Award by the Manitoba Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation. As well, the Janice C. Filmon Award for Leadership in Cancer Care in Manitoba was created in her name to honour those who make significant contributions in this field.
In her tenure as Lieutenant Governor, Honourable Janice Filmon sponsored a series of free public events called “Conversations and Celebrations”, celebrating Manitoba’s Ceremonial Home. Lt. Governor Filmon embraces the role of community connector. Her vision for these events was to continue to find meaningful ways to brings Manitobans together to learn and celebrate unique talents, abilities, and perspectives by embracing the rich diversity of this province and its people.
By the time this article is published, the new Lt. Governor, Anita Neville, will have been sworn in as Manitoba’s 26th Lieutenant Governor. And I’m sure Mrs. Filmon is very pleased that we will have our 3rd female LG.
I wish Honourable Janice & Honourable Gary Filmon many more years spent in retirement. Although it’s unlikely that either one of them will be spending much time in the proverbial rocking chair, I wish to thank both for many years of public service. It is because of people like them that Manitoba continues to prosper and be known for its friendly citizens. I share with them the love for all things Manitoban and appreciate how they led the way and have been models for us all. I wish them nothing but the best and hope they will enjoy some extra time with family and friends.