In 2005, the School was pleased to honour the Honourable Gary Filmon, and Mrs Janice Filmon, for in accepting the challenge, they have admirably served as role models for the young men at St Paul's and the greater community at large. In their public, private and personal lives they have chosen to serve the community through public office, business and organizational leadership and for causes that are close to the heart of all Manitobans.
Born and raised in Winnipeg's North End, a graduate of Sisler High School and the University of Manitoba, Gary Filmon is a dedicated, life-long Manitoban, a recipient of the Order of Manitoba, and an individual who has provided not only elected leadership in service to the public, but also public and private leadership in business and in the community at large.
As Premier of Manitoba from 1988 to 1999, Gary Filmon governed during a period of tremendous challenge and change, including two major constitutional rounds - Meech Lake and Charlottetown, and the second worst recession of the century. His steady hand on the affairs of government saw the province achieve record levels of economic growth, employment, exports, and manufacturing production, and its finances improve from a period of chronic annual deficits to the first balanced budget in over two decades. Perhaps, most importantly, under his leadership Manitoba became a province of confidence and pride.
A registered professional engineer, Gary currently serves on a number of corporate and public Boards, and in June of this year was named by Prime Minister Paul Martin to head the Security Intelligence Review Committee, a watchdog panel for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. All told, Gary spent more than 25 years in public office as a member of Winnipeg City Council and the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, serving for 17 years as leader of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party. Since leaving elected office, Gary has repeatedly answered the non-partisan call to positions of leadership both provincially and nationally - a testament to the effectiveness of his leadership, the respect it commands and the selfless nature by which he offers it.
Janice Filmon was born in Winnipeg and raised by parents who endowed her with self-confidence and a conviction that the efforts of an individual can make a vital difference in a community. Janice believes in getting involved and in the power of teamwork. Nobody believes in her community, her family and in people more than Janice Filmon does.
Janice graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics. She worked as a social worker with the Children's Aid Society of Winnipeg and was a caseworker in Family Protection. Even in her professional life, she devoted her energies toward people in need.
She is a past president of the University of Manitoba Alumni Association and a past member of the University of Manitoba Students Union Scholarship/Bursary Fund and Endowment Fund Board of Trustees. She has an excellent sense of fundraising for worthy causes, where she can use her persuasive powers to obtain maximum contributions.
She has been an exemplary volunteer who understands what can and cannot be accomplished effectively through volunteers. Perhaps one of Janice's greatest attributes is her ability to motivate others. In any number of settings she chooses just the right words or story to relate to a group that can rouse them to action, send their hearts beating with excitement, or bring them to tears. Powered by a tireless commitment to people and an inexhaustible love of life, she has managed to make significant contributions beyond political life and her family.
She was the founding Co-chair for Leadership Winnipeg, serves on the Board of Directors of the Cancer Care Manitoba Foundation and the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice, and continues to be involved in youth leadership. She was also Chair of Festivals for the 1999 Pan American Games. The Manitoba Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation have honoured her with the Guardian Angel Award. As well, the Manitoba Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation & Great West Life created the Janice C. Filmon Award for Leadership in Cancer Care in Manitoba, to honour those who make significant contributions in this field.
In the spring of 2005, Janice received the Peter D. Curry Chancellors Award at the University of Manitoba for contribution to the university's governance and development. In June of 2005, Janice and Gary jointly were honoured with the Distinguished Alumni Award at the University of Manitoba's Fall Convocation.
As parents of a St Paul's Alumnus, eldest son David from the class of 1984, Janice and Gary are well acquainted with the school, with Jesuit education and with the school's impact on the lives of the many young men who have attended and its impact on the wider Winnipeg community. In addition to David, they have three other children: daughters Allison and Susanna and son Gregg, as well as eight grandchildren, Alexandra, Aimee, Adam, Spencer, Emma, Stefanie, Jack, and Josh.
Janice served the St. Paul's community in the past as keynote speaker at the 1998 Tribute Dinner, which honoured Ignatian Challenge Award Recipient Mr Gregg Hanson '69, and, at which her son David '84 introduced her.
As Premier, Gary brought greetings on behalf of the province at past Tribute Dinners and served as Chairman of the 2003 Tribute Dinner honouring Ignatian Challenge Award recipient William (Bill) Norrie, C.M., O.M., Q.C.
We have been blessed to have Gary and Janice Filmon as an integral part of our St. Paul's Community and of our wider civic, provincial and national community. The School was proud to honour them as co-recipients of the 2005 Ignatian Challenge Award.