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Rob Altemeyer, MLA Wolseley
March 12, 2018

Marty Dolin

Madam Speaker, today I pay tribute to long-time social justice activist, Wolseley resident and former MLA for The Maples, Marty Dolin. Marty died suddenly on February the 14th at the age of 78 after a lifetime of dedication to causes and issues larger than himself. I was grateful to have him as a friend, an activist colleague and honoured to receive his advice, which, I can tell you, he was never shy about offering.

While it's not possible to do proper justice to Marty's many contributions in the time I have, in our current era of unbridled greed and self-interest, I think it's important that at least some of his life story be shared.

He was born in June 1939 in the South Bronx of New York City. He started working at the tender age of 13 and completed undergraduate studies at City College and the American University in Mexico. His activism also started early, as Marty was one of many students who flocked to southern United States to help register black voters in the era of Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation. His opposition to the Vietnam War led him to Canada, first to Nova Scotia and then to Winnipeg.

To say that Marty made a lasting impression on his adopted home would be a massive understatement. He was quite simply a force of nature. Known for his booming voice, his infectious humour and uncompromising dedication to the people and issues he believed in, he backed up his words with action time and time again and committed himself a hundred per cent to everything he did.

As the executive director of Welcome Place for two decades, Marty helped thousands of refugees and their families begin new lives here in Manitoba. He was a passionate human rights activist, never afraid to challenge or expose the bad practices of governments, businesses or institutions. Simultaneously, he had the biggest heart in the world for society's underdogs, and gave many new arrivals their first jobs in their new home.

He helped build Klinic Community Health Centre, and as president of Clubhouse of Winnipeg he helped successfully lobby our former government to build more mental health housing units. I remember the pride in his voice as we toured the now-completed Fountain Springs project on Sherbrook Street that now provides 30 crucial affordable housing units to those in need. At Marty's celebration it was written that, quote, he was larger than life, fearless and spoke–or shouted–truth to power whenever it was needed to protect those he cared about. And Marty cared about everyone. End quote.

Thank you, Marty. You are loved. You are honoured. You are missed. And even now you are still awesome. Thank you, Madam Speaker