WINNIPEG – Outgoing Premier Gary Doer was remembered Friday night as the man who made the MTS Centre possible.
At a dinner attended by 1,000 people of all political stripes, Doer was praised by business and labour leaders alike for his vision, passion and humility.
The tribute dinner kicked off a weekend that will see a new chapter begin in Manitoba political history. Today, more than 2,000 NDP delegates will choose between Greg Selinger and Steve Ashton, both former members of Doer’s cabinet, as the next NDP leader and premier.
Doer begins his new job as Canadian ambassador to the United States on Monday.
More than a dozen speakers, both on video and in person, paid tribute, including federal NDP leader Jack Layton, former federal NDP leader Ed Broadbent, University of Winnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy and Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Ron Evans.
"Had it not been for his leadership, the MTS Centre would not have been built," said Mark Chipman, chairman of True North Sports and Entertainment.
Doer thanked audience members for the work Manitobans have done together to make the province a better place to live.
He singled out the effort to build the downtown MTS Centre on the former Eaton’s site, rather than succumbing to the minority of "nitpickers."
"I believe we have a can-do attitude."