The session of the Manitoba legislature that just adjourned was extraordinarily instructive for me personally and even more instructive for Brandon as a community.
As our government was continuing to invest in Brandon at historic levels — passing measures to fund the raising of the Assiniboine River dikes, supporting the construction of the Dood Cristall Family YMCA and funding fire/police/emergency services — I have been repeatedly approached by people concerned about the spectacle of my family being personally attacked for working on behalf of our community.
These attacks are unprecedented in a city that has always valued co-operation in putting Brandon first. Indeed, I have been representing Brandon for more than two decades against political opponents of all stripes, but never before have I witnessed such a sustained public attack implicating a wife or spouse.
I am, first and foremost, very grateful for the genuine concern for my family as expressed by so many people. I very much appreciate the concern shared with me, the support expressed through that concern and the true kindness shown by so many.
It has made a positive difference to my family and I feel an obligation to all who have spoken with me during this past session of the Manitoba legislature to formally and forcefully recommit to our community through the pages of the Brandon Sun.
• I am proud of our work together to secure more than $100 million worth of provincial investment in the Brandon Regional Health Centre, the Western Manitoba Cancer Treatment Centre, the Westman Laboratory, the downtown Health Access Centre, our MRI Suite, CT scanners, ambulance fleet and all the enhanced diagnostic services we have supported as government.
• To the students, staff, parents, families and broader western Manitoba community served by Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College, my work to press forward with the development of post-secondary infrastructure in our region will continue unabated.
•At Brandon University, where the Healthy Living Centre is taking shape as the newest building on campus, my commitment to support my alma mater remains steadfast.
•In terms of neighbourhood renewal and the ongoing development of affordable housing in our community, I will continue to support provincial funding for Renaissance Brandon, the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation and all community partners who share a vision for a safer, healthier and better city.
•As the historic Massey-Harris Building — now officially named Massey Manor — affordable housing complex nears completion, as the Dood Cristall Family YMCA continues the transformation of downtown alongside the Kristopher Campbell Memorial Skate Park, as the Brandon Seniors Housing Co-op rises on McDiarmid Drive, I pledge to continue my work to help deliver provincial resources to all organizations who honestly seek to build a better community for all people who call Brandon home.
•At the Keystone Centre, building upon the multimillion-dollar development of the Agricultural Centre of Excellence and the improvements made to Westman Place in support of the Memorial Cup, I will continue to work together with those who have greater aspirations for western Manitoba’s “community centre.”
•Likewise, for those at the Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba toiling to redevelop the Display Building No. 2 national historic site, I pledge my ongoing support for your work to capitalize on the significant economic development opportunities implicit in your labours.
“Working for Brandon” is not an ethic I take lightly. It is a promise that both I and my predecessor, Len Evans, made with integrity and solemnity to the community we serve and love.
“Working for Brandon” will continue to define my work ethic and without fear or favour and to the very best of my abilities, it will remain and always be my first principle as a Brandon MLA.
I will let the record of others speak for them, but for me every single issue that affects Brandon will continue to receive my full attention. My support for all people and organizations working to build our community will not waver.
Thank you for the opportunity to communicate my feelings about the recent session of the Manitoba legislature.
Drew Caldwell, MLA
NDP Brandon East
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 15, 2012