Driedger focused on women’s rights
As a community correspondent for Charleswood, I would be remiss in not acknowledging the contributions that Roblin MLA Myrna Driedger has made to the community during her 25 years in public service. I do not know Myrna personally, but I am aware of her presence in and commitment to the Charleswood and Headingley communities she represents.
Since being elected MLA for Charleswood in 1998, Driedger has served in a number of caucus positions and has also been involved with many facets of community life. The development of Charleswood 55-plus Active Living Centre is one of her most fulfilling achievements, she said when announcing that she would not be seeking re-election. She also helped organize community leaders networking luncheons. Her community outreach extends to sending out announcements of upcoming events, such as Charleswood Historical Society presentations and other activities, ensuring that her constituents are kept abreast of opportunities that are available to and for them.
During her career in public service, Driedger has clearly set her sights on ensuring women are represented, seen and heard, and recognized for their contributions to our province and country. She also tackled many issues with respect to women’s rights. She had five private member’s bills passed during her career, most notably those aimed at preventing sexual assault. She also established the Nellie McClung Foundation to inspire future champions and which led to the placement of a statue of Nellie McClung and the Famous Five on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature.
Her advocacy for a dedicated stroke unit and women’s heart health program led to it becing a reality in 2016, and she said a gold-standard stroke unit is close to fruition.
As Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly – a position to which she was twice elected — Driedger led the assembly through COVID-19 pandemic, worked with legislative team to enhance programs and services and modernize the workings of the legislative assembly, and implemented a leadership development program.
As Speaker, she curated a time capsule to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Manitoba Legislative Building. She also initiated a Women’s Trailblazers of the First 100 Years exhibit at the legislature and a Vote 100 exhibition to recognize Manitoba women as the first in Canada to be granted the vote.
Aware of the challenges women face getting into politics and leadership roles, Driedger addressed this issue in provincial, national and international positions with Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP), and the Commonwealth Parliamentarian Association, and was appointed president of CWP International.
Driedger has represented her constituents through seven elections, and she said she intends to do so for the remainder of her time in office.
Her contributions to the communities she served will not be forgotten, and we wish her well in the next chapter of her life.
Charleswood community correspondent
Donna Minkus is a community correspondent for Charleswood.