Now that the Churchill rail line is back in full service, it’s important to recognize contributions made by Manitoba taxpayers in support of our northern neighbours during their time of need. When the rail line was shut down over a year-and-a-half ago and the only way to get supplies to the town was by plane or barge, our Manitoba government stepped up by supplying the town with propane to make it through last winter at a cost of about $6 million. We also sent a second shipment of propane at a similar cost to ensure the people of Churchill would be able to adequately heat their homes a second winter, if required. As well, we expanded our government’s northern food program AFFIRM to Churchill to work with the federal Nutrition North program, to ensure those in Churchill would get their necessary supplies.
It was my pleasure to see another successful event at the fur tables in Thompson last weekend. This annual gathering, hosted by the Manitoba Trappers Association (MTA), is the longest-running of its kind in North America. Trappers gather to sell furs, trade stories and catch up with family and friends before Christmas. Congratulations to Ernest Halkett on winning the Oswald Hudson Award for best harvest, fur handling and preparation in the previous trapping year. Thanks goes to MTA president Rob Andrushuk, director-at-large Cristo Spiess, executive Ron Spence and all the other MTA executives and members, sponsors, volunteers, resource management personnel, traders, buyers and harvesters for participating in this northern tradition. Fire ranger/resource management assistant Silas Sinclair of Oxford House held a moving tribute to his friend, former trapper and fellow co-worker Harry Merasty. Also a fire ranger/resource management technician from Lynn Lake, Merasty succumbed to cancer earlier this year.
In July 2017, Manitoba’s then-minister of families Scott Fielding, Thompson Lions Senior Non-Profit Housing Cooperative president Nick DiVirgilio and I took part in a sod-turning to kick off construction of the Lions Manor 55+ complex to which our provincial government, in partnership with the federal government, is contributing $2.25 million. Last weekend, DiVirgilio along with vice-president Penny Byer, treasurer Dee Chaboyer, secretary Helen Koetke and other board members unveiled the first completed suite to showcase the complex. Anyone interested in purchasing a unit or donating to the project can call 204-677-1496 or e-mail email@example.com.
I wish all residents of the Thompson constituency a merry Christmas, a happy holiday season and all the best in the New Year.