Six Degrees

You’ve probably heard of the six degrees of separation theory that claims everyone is really no more than six personal connections away from another person in the world. Sometimes it’s fun to see just how many connections you can make. Recently I was involved in a conversation where people were trying to figure out how closely they are connected to our province’s premiers past and present.

I am only two degrees of separation away from three former Manitoba premiers thanks to my husband Dave.

Brian Pallister is standing at the very back in the middle- in a row of his own. My husband Dave is farthest to the right in the front row.

At the height of Brian Pallister’s fastball career, my husband Dave was a catcher for him on the ball diamond. Although they never played on the same team for an entire season Brian liked the way Dave caught and invited him to travel to some tournaments with him to be his catcher.

Gary Filmon was a member of the 1960 Varsity Boys basketball championship Team from Sisler High School whose members were inducted into the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001. In the photo, Gary is second from the left in the back row. – photo from the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame website

Once at a University of Manitoba basketball game Dave’s name was drawn for a half-time shooting contest. Two members of the audience were given three chances to sink a basket from half-court and win a gift certificate from the Manitoba Liquor Commission. The other audience member whose name was drawn? Former Premier Gary Filmon. He was a former basketball star himself and faithfully attended the U of M games to watch his sons play. So Dave and Gary stood side by side on the court. Neither sunk the required basket, however.

Kelvin Goertzen

It also just so happens that the recent interim premier Kelvin Goertzen was a former student of my husband’s.

Despite the fact they are currently involved in a court battle against each other, here Shelly Glover and Heather Stephenson seem quite friendly

I am four degrees of separation away from current premier Heather Stephenson. A family member once worked at a daycare where her political opponent Shelly Glover’s child was enrolled.

I am three degrees of separation away from Ed Schreyer who was the premier of Manitoba from 1979-1984. When I lived in Hong Kong I was a member of the Hong Kong Women in Publishing organization. It was a large group of women who were writers and journalists. We met every month for professional development sessions and socializing.

When I would tell people in our group I was from Manitoba they would often ask me if I knew Karmel Schreyer, our former premier’s daughter. She lived in Hong Kong, wrote books for children, was a journalist for the South China Morning Post, and had been an active member of their association. Many of the women I got to know at Hong Kong Women in Publishing meetings knew Karmel personally.

Photo of Susan Thompson by Nadine Kampen from the Susan Thompson website

I am two degrees of separation away from Greg Selinger who was our premier from 2009-2016. Both Greg and Susan Thompson ran for mayor of Winnipeg in 1992 and shared the stage for the major debate of that election. Susan is a volunteer at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and since I am employed there, she and I have sometimes chatted in the elevator as we go to our respective work stations.

Sterling Lyon

I am two degrees of separation away from Sterling Lyon who was the premier from 1977 to 1981. Bob Banman was a cabinet minister in the government of Sterling Lyon. Bob and his wife Joanne and I attended the same church in Steinbach as children. I knew Bob’s parents well and Dave and I have been good friends with Bob’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law for more than four decades.

I am sure if I looked hard enough and did enough research I could probably find ways I am connected to all the province’s former premiers. Do you have any premier connections?

Other posts………

Holding Joey Smallwood’s Hand

Why All These Old White Men?

Manitoba is Metis


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