The Association of Former Manitoba MLAs is comprised of all former members of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly. At present there are approximately 135 former members. Some have gone on to serve in the House of Commons and the Senate and some are no longer residents of Manitoba. However, the Association attempts to keep in touch with all through its Newsletter and through meetings and social functions to which all are invited along with family and friends.
The Honourable George Hickes, Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, initiated discussions at an exploratory meeting in 2001 to see if there was enough interest in forming an association along the lines of those already established in B.C., Ontario and Quebec as well as at the federal level with former Parliamentarians. Because of the positive response a founding meeting was held on September 25, 2001. It was agreed that the Association should seek incorporation by an Act of the Manitoba Legislature. Subsequently the Association presented the required petition requesting incorporation and later executive members of the Association communicated with the caucuses of the three existing political parties to explain the purpose of the Association and the need
By 2006 agreement was achieved with all three caucuses and a Bill was introduced and passed establishing the Association as a non-profit corporation.
Royal Assent was given on June 13, 2006.
The Bill outlined the objectives of the Association including the desire to serve the public interest by providing non-partisan support for the parliamentary system of government. Other objectives included fostering a spirit of community among former MLAs and promoting good relations between current and former MLAs.
The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly was deemed to be the Honourary President of the Association.
The Board of Directors would be elected at the annual meeting and officers would be chosen in accordance with the by-laws of the Association.
Over the years the Association has developed a series of functions and meetings in keeping with its objective of promoting parliamentary democracy in a non partisan fashion. Presently apart from the Annual Meeting which occurs toward the end of the calendar year, the Association sponsors two discussion group meetings where prominent or expert individuals are invited to speak on various political, economic and social issues. In addition each year we conduct a province-wide essay contest among high school students dealing with some appropriate challenging topic in the area of parliamentary democracy. Cash prizes and certificates are awarded to the three students submitting the best essays. We offer speakers to schools, clubs and other community-based groups through our Speakers Bureau program where topics are addressed on a non-partisan basis. We sponsor a reception plus a “Bear Pit” session at the annual Youth Parliament of Manitoba held in the legislative assembly between Christmas and New Year. The latter involves having a few former MLAs available to answer a variety of questions posed by the young parliamentarians. In addition a reception is sponsored in the Fall of each year for members and their partners hosted in alternating years by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the Assembly.
Finally, to help us keep in touch, we publish a Newsletter several times each year with members being given an opportunity to write articles and provide information on their current activities.