Twelve named to Order of Manitoba

Honourees include doctors, Metis leaders


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The Manitoba government has identified 12 people to be invested into the Order of Manitoba for 2018 at a ceremony in July.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/05/2018 (1665 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Manitoba government has identified 12 people to be invested into the Order of Manitoba for 2018 at a ceremony in July.

The Order of Manitoba, which is the province’s highest honour, was established in 1999 to recognize Manitobans who have enriched the social, cultural or economic well-being of the province.

The latest group includes seven men and five women.


Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon said the honourees have a passionate commitment to the community. “The impact of their leadership has made a unique mark on this province and its people with achievements that both impress and inspire,” she said in a release.

Appointments to the order are made on the recommendations of an advisory council. Once invested, members are entitled to use the initials O.M. after their names and will have their names placed on permanent display in the Manitoba Legislative Building.

The 12 inductees are:

● David Barnard: As president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba since 2008, Barnard has championed the university’s commitments to Indigenous achievement, enhanced research facilities and graduate student support, and diversified academic opportunities for students. During his tenure, the university has been chosen to hold prestigious research chairs, including a highly competitive Canada Excellence Research Chair.

● Michael Belhumeur: A Métis elder and a military veteran, Belhumeur co-founded the Urban Knights and Ladies Volunteer Veterans Ambassadors Peace Patrol of Manitoba, a volunteer-based, safety promotion and crime prevention organization. Serving the Winnipeg community for 40 years, its focus has been on locating and finding support for homeless veterans. 

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Bill Loewen founded Comcheq 50 years ago.

● Jacqueline Blay: She is an award-winning francophone historian. Her writings reflect the efforts of francophones in Manitoba to preserve their language and culture. She has served as president of the St. Boniface Historical Society, Gabrielle-Roy House and the Société franco-manitobaine. 

● Barbara Bruce: A citizen of the Métis nation, Barbara Bruce has spent her life working with and for the Métis nation and First Nations’ communities and organizations. She was directly involved in the planning of four Truth and Reconciliation Commission national events. She served on the boards of the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Top 40 Under 40, among others. 

● Dr. Sara J. Israels: A pediatric hematologist/oncologist, Israels is world-renowned for her work in the care of children and teenagers with cancer and bleeding disorders. She led the expansion of inter-professional care, the development of an aftercare program for survivors of childhood cancer, the creation of a provincial bleeding disorders program, and the development of dedicated space for children and their families at CancerCare Manitoba. 

● Robert Kristjanson: A lifelong resident of Gimli, and a commercial fisher for 70 years, Kristjanson increased public awareness of the growing algae problem on Lake Winnipeg, which inspired several initiatives to address the problem. He has served in the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary for 35 years. 

● Bernice Marmel: She has been an advocate for seniors, affordable housing and low-income Manitobans. She helped establish a visiting program and phone service for Deer Lodge Hospital residents, matching volunteers with seniors to reduce social isolation.  


● Bill Loewen: He started Comcheq, a payroll company, 50 years ago. He has championed other community organizations such as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Choral Association and Heritage Winnipeg. 

● Robb Nash: He uses music to influence young people, performing at schools, reservations and detention centres across Canada. After surviving a near-fatal accident, he began speaking to youth, playing his songs that are intended to inspire discussion about important issues such as bullying, addiction, self-harm and suicide. In the past five years, more than 800 students have relinquished their planned suicide notes to him and hundreds more have stopped self-harming behaviours. 

● Ken Opaleke: For more than 27 years, Opaleke has been dedicated to empowering youth as the executive director of West Broadway Youth Outreach. More than 800 kids participate in the program every year. Helping two of his former program ‘students’ achieve their dream of graduating from medical school is among his accomplishments. 

● Dr. Grant Pierce: His research in cardiovascular medicine has brought scientific acclaim to Manitoba through his participation in a series of studies to stop or reverse heart muscle disease or blood vessel wall injury. He helped develop the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and helped found the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine, both at St. Boniface Hospital.

● Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg: She is renowned for her leadership in pediatric health and her expertise regarding rare metabolic disorders and genetic diseases. Her research benefited the health of Manitobans at risk for certain illnesses, resulting in the development of targeted newborn screening programs and new treatments. This led to early life-changing interventions for many Manitobans, including those in the Hutterite, Mennonite and Indigenous communities. In April, she was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.


The 12 honourees will be inducted into the Order of Manitoba at a July 12 ceremony at the legislature.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Dr. Grant Pierce, executive director of research, St. Boniface Hospital.
JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Ken Opaleke is the outreach director of West Broadway Youth Outreach
BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Robert Kristjanson has been commercial fishing in Gimli since he was 14. His family has been in the commercial fishing business since the 1800s.
RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES David Barnard is president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba.

Updated on Sunday, May 13, 2018 1:46 PM CDT: adds photos

Updated on Sunday, May 13, 2018 10:06 PM CDT: Edited

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