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Multiculturalism valued, celebrated in River East

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Every summer, Winnipeg comes alive with the sights and sounds of festivals, cultural events, and activities that the whole family can enjoy.  

As families wind down the summer and get children back to school, I would like to recognize the many people in our community who have spent time volunteering at Winnipeg’s summer festivals.  

Many in our constituency give up vacation time that could be spent relaxing with family or sitting quietly on a beach. Instead they take a working vacation as leaders and volunteers at the Winnipeg Jazz Festival, The Winnipeg Fringe Festival and many other of our most beloved cultural events.

Folklorama, for example, needed about 20,000 volunteers to smoothly handle more than 416,000 visits to its 46 pavilions this year. The main reason this 44-year-old internationally-acclaimed festival is one of the largest cultural celebrations in the world is because of the sheer, massive volume of volunteers who are nothing less than impassioned about Folklorama.  

These volunteers provide the energy, commitment and dedication which keeps one of the world’s largest multicultural celebrations active and exciting.  

Not only do the individuals in these communities come together at Folklorama, they also work side-by-side at all of our other major festivals and celebrations as well as in our work places and schools.

Folklorama highlights the vibrant cultures that peacefully co-exist and contribute to our province — factors essential for the stability and strength of our province.

While people in many other countries continue to struggle to defend their heritage and culture, we celebrate our cultures in Manitoba. Our right to do so is officially protected by law in a Multiculturalism Act that I had the privilege of introducing in 1992 when I was the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship.  

Through Folklorama we are given a beautiful reminder of the value of sharing, understanding and appreciating each other’s cultures.

River East is home to families of many backgrounds and cultures.  Together, we volunteer, care, and come together for the good of all. Thank you for making our community and our province a better place for us all to live, laugh, and grow our families.

If you know someone who is doing good work in our community, I would love to hear from you. Email me at bonniemitchelson@mts.net.

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