Fort Richmond constituency report
Sarah Guillemard is the PC MLA for Fort Richmond.
Recent articles of Sarah Guillemard
Life is full of moments where we face choices. Some are simple choices like what clothing we should wear on a given day, or what we may want to eat. Others are complex choices that can determine the direction and actions we will be taking for years to come.
I distinctly remember feeling the weight of choices as I prepared for my high school graduation. I was not exactly sure what career I wanted to pursue, although I did have the grades to pick any path before me. It was a daunting task to apply for university months ahead of finishing high school, still unsure of the ‘right’ choice. My favourite teacher had told me years before that I would be a great educator, and because of that comment, I chose to apply to the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.
What I didn’t know at the time is that there was no right or wrong choice when it came to the pursuit of learning. There is also no rule set in stone that you must stick to your first choice. Each experience you have will prepare you for future steps, even if it seems to have no connection to your goals.
Graduation ceremonies were in full force this month, with many young Manitobans facing big choices about next steps in life. Some may be feeling immense anxiety about the path ahead, while others feel confident in their career paths. The one thing each of you have in common is that you have achieved a significant milestone on your life journey, and that deserves to be celebrated!
School has been in full swing for almost a month and the smiles on the faces of children speak volumes about the amazing job education staff have done to welcome each student back.
September is historically a busy month for families as they adjust to new routines at school, at home and in sports or other extracurricular activities. Add a pandemic and federal election to the mix and the days become that much more occupied for us all.
It is important to take time during all the busy-ness to reflect on the basics of good physical and mental health, and to maintain our friendships and relationships with others. These life fundamentals have been strained over the last year-and-a-half for people in Fort Richmond and across the globe.
The summer has passed by quickly and September is now upon us.
I usually look forward to the autumn for its beautiful colours, the fresh crisp air, and less annoying insects! This year feels a lot different than previous years. We have learned a lot over the last 18 months but we face another battle ahead of us with the pandemic’s 4th wave.
This year’s back to school routine looks and feels different for many families, including my own. We have learned to be adaptive, flexible, and in some ways more creative. The things we used to plan for are still planned for, but there is extra thought put into the ‘what if’ senarios. It takes an emotional and mental toll on each of us, which is why kindness is so important to offer in these challenging times.
One of the activities I look forward to is connecting with schools and families who are preparing for the return to classes. In Fort Richmond we have a large population of newcomers and vulnerable families who struggle this time of year to get their children prepared for a new school year. There are local organizations that are involved in assisting with school supplies and other supports for students.
I am excited to celebrate this year’s recipients of the MLA for Fort Richmond Bursary Awards...
Congratulations to these deserving high school graduates:
David Jim Krouse graduating from Fort Richmond Collegiate; Delphus Harper, a graduate of South East Collegiate; and Jack Moore of Centre-scolaire Léo-Rémillard. Anne Zhang from Acadia Junior High was also honoured as a band student to continue her musical pursuits.
Your excellence is especially poignant during this challenging academic year.
What a month for spring traditions. The Jewish community celebrated Passover in March and April, Hindus commemorated Holi, the “festival of colours,” and Christians celebrated Easter on April 4. Eastern Christians and the Yazidi community will also mark Easter on April 14.
Thank you for celebrating safely during this second spring holiday season of COVID-19.
Throughout April, Yazidi people around the world are also observing the Yazidi new year. For the safety of families, it will be commemorated at home, rather than with the traditional communal feast.
Hadji Hesso of the Yazidi Association of Manitoba notes the Yazidi people settled in Canada are proud Canadians, happy to be part of our city and province. They look forward to better times for celebration in the years to come, hopefully with new Yazidi arrivals. Hesso has volunteered for years to bring persecuted Yazidis over to Canada and help them settle in Winnipeg and other cities across North America.
Feb. 17 is I Read Canadian Day, a national celebration of Canadian books for young people that celebrates the richness, diversity, and breadth of Canadian literature.
As well, February is I Love to Read Month, with 2021’s theme of Joyful Reading in a New World. This year’s theme encourages readers to try new book formats and engage in different activities that promote reading, writing, and the sharing of the joy of literacy within the current pandemic situation.
I have embraced this year’s theme of trying new formats to reach young readers in Fort Richmond, using a combination of recorded readings and live video calls with schools and daycares. Visiting young students during I Love to Read Month is my very favourite part of the year, and I am happy to continue to participate.
My feelings were summed up wonderfully when I greeted a childcare class virtually, asking them, “Do you know why I come visit you each year in February?”
The beginning of a New Year is usually met with optimism and hope as we set goals to better ourselves. There is nothing usual about the start to this year. In fact, 2021 is proving to be a challenge for optimism as we face a pandemic, violent events and political unrest that threaten our health, freedom and sense of security.
All these elements have shaken us and created uncertainty and, for some, a feeling of helplessness.
Hope is not lost. The flicker of light at the end of this difficult tunnel can be seen in the numerous acts of kindness in our local community.
Nicole Carnegie, an active volunteer in Fort Richmond, jumped into action over the holidays when she heard of a family that was struggling because a loved one was in hospital with COVID-19. With their entire focus on the health of their relative, they had no time to plan or organize for a special Christmas.
At this time of year, I usually highlight how the holidays are filled with joyful celebrations of many different faiths and cultures, with various traditions, in our diverse neighbourhood of Fort Richmond. And while I still hold these traditions and festivities dear, this year — this holiday season is unlike any other.
This change cannot be ignored. We cannot be close to our loved ones in the same way we are used to. We cannot pop into shops and restaurants for supplies and treats as easily as before. Many are facing difficult financial decisions and have to stay far away from those they want to hold more than anything.
There is the hopeful light of the COVID-19 vaccine but it may be months before we have the level of protection needed to return to life as we knew it.
Yet, it is still important to mark traditions, hold our families and friends dear (virtually), and try to offer hope and connection when everything feels different. I know many in our community are reaching out to others, supporting charities with gifts or time, or kindly ordering a delivered meal for a neighbour.
This is proving to be a challenging season for our community of Fort Richmond, our province, our country, and all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While we have all heard so much about this crisis lately, or may be dealing with it directly through illness, the death of a loved one, job or income loss, or mental health concerns, please know that I am here to serve you as best as I can.
My office — while physically closed to the public — can be a source of information, including how and where to get help. Please reach out via phone at 204-221-8881 or email email@example.com
Also, please follow my social media feeds for current news and resources.
Last month, as Fort Richmond Collegiate staff and students got creative to celebrate the graduating classes of 2020 during a pandemic, I was happy to announce the recipients of the MLA for Fort Richmond bursaries.
Our community congratulates Lucy Liu from Acadia Junior High School, who received a band bursary; Alexander Papineau from Centre Scolaire Léo-Rémillard, Ethan Little from Southeast Collegiate and Maltha Uwambajimana of Fort Richmond Collegiate.
The last school year was a challenging, unforgettable one for students, staff and families. You should all be extremely proud of your achievements.
After a long winter and strange spring, we are relieved to benefit from the heat of summer and the safe, enjoyable activities that come along with sweltering Manitoba sunshine. In Fort Richmond, many local businesses are now open and ready to serve us, whether safely in person, online, or through delivery and pickup.
There are some very unsettling and difficult conversations happening across North America about privilege and abuse of power.
The actions of many citizens have proven these discussions necessary if we want to reach the goal of peace and justice for all. I stand with every person who has lived through trauma, abuse, systemic racism, and any other form of injustice. I stand with you through the pain and will celebrate when we witness the needed changes in our society.
As well, my heart goes out to all the graduating students from high schools and universities across the province.
We have been forced to take a more practical and safe approach to time that is traditionally marked by pomp and circumstance. Thank you to all the school staff who have gone the extra mile by planning creative ways to honour graduates. It means so much to the students and their families.
The holidays are filled with celebrations of many different faiths and cultures around the world, and we are fortunate to experience the various traditions within our diverse neighbourhood of Fort Richmond. This is a season of coming together with friends and family. As a person of faith, I am thankful to live in a province that protects the rights of individuals to express themselves free from discrimination and persecution.It is truly a blessing to live and serve within a community that values connection and relationship. Thank you to the staff and volunteers at SWCC Richmond site for organizing the Skate with Santa Breakfast earlier this month. I am grateful to have been invited, to assist with serving the many families who came to see Santa and fill their morning with festive fun!Like many of us, I have special holiday memories. Every Christmas Eve we invite family and friends over for soup, hors d’oeuvres and simple desserts. Fun trivia games are played long into the night, and after the guests have left, each of my four children are allowed to open one gift before heading to bed. Stockings are filled and hung on their doorknobs while they sleep (or pretend to sleep), and the house is quiet and still until the morning excitement begins. Traditions and memories are precious and my wish is that everyone has plenty of both to bless their hearts this holiday season.I was happy to open my office to constituents on Dec. 16 and share some of the good cheer that permeates the air during this special month. Each interaction and greeting was full of smiles and well wishes for the upcoming new year. One couple shared their travel plans for the Christmas break, another spoke of their unique traditions on the first of January! As 2019 winds down, thoughts quickly turn to New Year’s resolutions and fresh starts. There are several exciting new projects that will gear up in Fort Richmond in the new year, and I look forward to sharing more details in the coming weeks!Warmest wishes to you and your loved ones this holiday season and all the best in 2020! Please feel free to reach out to me at the constituency office at 204-221-8881 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The holidays are filled with celebrations of many different faiths and cultures around the world, and we are fortunate to experience the various traditions within our diverse neighbourhood of Fort Richmond. This is a season of coming together with friends and family.
As a person of faith, I am thankful to live in a province that protects the rights of individuals to express themselves free from discrimination and persecution.
It is truly a blessing to live and serve within a community that values connection and relationship. Thank you to the staff and volunteers at SWCC Richmond site for organizing the Skate with Santa Breakfast earlier this month. I am grateful to have been invited, to assist with serving the many families who came to see Santa and fill their morning with festive fun!
These are words that permeate the month of November as we reflect on the amazing gift of freedom and peace we were given by the brave men and women who fought for our country.
I was invited to participate in a service at Victoria General Hospital, where I read former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson’s Eulogy for Canada’s Unknown Soldier to a room full of patients who have lived through memories of war.
Their tears, songs and reverence during the service displayed an understanding and burden beyond what most of us could ever comprehend. I thank them for allowing me into their space to be a part of the respect and honour owed to all the members who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces.
The torch that was passed to our generation is filled with a flame that yearns for lasting peace. It is up to us to find ways to work toward unity and co-operation so we do not dishonour the ultimate sacrifice of our ancestors.