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, MLA Kirkfield Park
May 2, 2013

2013 YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Awards

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend a group of amazing women who are using their vision, compassion and unique talents to create a positive change in Manitoba.

Last night, I and some of my colleagues had the pleasure of attending the 37th annual YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction awards. These awards are a celebration of the achievements of women who have done some amazing work in their communities. This year, 86 women were recognized for their contribution to their respective fields.

Every year, I am astounded by the calibre of nominees, Mr. Speaker, and this year was no different. This diverse group of women are involved in the performing arts, in education, in non-profits, in small businesses, in research and much more.

All of the nominees deserve recognition, Mr. Speaker, and I am proud to say that two of them come from Kirkfield Park.

Edith Turner, a member of the Winnipeg Police Service for over 19 years, was instrumental in encouraging the Winnipeg Police Service to become a partner in the We are all Treaty People campaign. She was the first Canadian female police officer to work in an undercover operation in an Ontario prison. She is also a single mom who works with initiatives aimed at empowering Aboriginal youth.

And today in the gallery, we have Jennifer Niblett, an International Baccalaureate student at Westwood Collegiate, who's a dedicated musician and a keen athlete who shares her passion with others through coaching, teaching music lessons and contributing her talents to Westwood's band and basketball programs. She also volunteers her time at summer camps for young people and fundraisers for Growing Opportunities International.

Mr. Speaker, there were many incredible women present last night, and I would like to acknowledge the 13 who were selected from this amazing group as this year's Women of Distinction: Helen Granger Young, Rhonda James, Diane Gray, Dr. Judith Bartlett, Randi Gage, Melanie Verhaeghe, Dr. Juliette Cooper, Maureen Orchard, Emily Richard, Wendy Yushi Wang, Lynette Ens, Melissa Kajpust, Lisa Meeches and Ursula Lawson.

On behalf of all honourable members, I would like to congratulate all the 2013 Women of Distinction winners and nominees. You truly make Manitoba proud.

Thank you.