Michael’s vision for Pinawa is one where the land is respected, and the people can thrive in wellness and abundance.
Using his passion for science and systems, combined with a deep respect for the interconnection between people, community, and the environment, Michael’s intention as counsellor is to find innovative ways to make our community more healthy, sustainable, and prosperous.
Often it is not our fear of failure that holds us back,
but rather it is our fear of
Michael was born and raised in the village of Cooks Creek, Manitoba. His Dad was a Kinsman and his aunties were (and still are) extremely involved in the Dugald Community Club. His mother and grandmother shared with him a love for nature. This was a big influence on Michael.
“Growing up in a small town influences your perspective on community. Working at the corner store I knew everybody, and they knew me too. You take interest in others, and root for their success.”
After High School Michael enrolled in the University of Winnipeg in the field of Biochemistry. During the course of his study of science, however, he took a course on Aboriginal Politics in Manitoba. This course would end up having a profound effect on Michael’s worldview.
This teacher shared with us the indigenous experience. We sat in a circle in class, burnt sweet grass. I had conversations with young men and women whose experiences were so different from my own. All too often we are quick to judge others for their circumstances. When you look into a person’s face and listen to their story, you see the human effect of systemic problems. It’s my belief that we must commit to fighting injustice in all forms.
Michael switched gears and moved into the politics department, where he wrote extensively on democratic reform, environmental justice, and foreign policy. He helped the student movement that eliminated bottled water sales on the U of W campus, removing 38,000 bottles per year from the plastic waste stream. He was given the opportunity to further his studies in French at l’Université Laval in Québec City, then deciding to take the train east to La Belle Provence. This voyage would eventually open the door to a career working aboard that same train.
Michael started out making beds in the sleeping cars and waiting tables in the diner, from Winnipeg to Toronto, to Vancouver, to Churchill (and everywhere in between). Soon he was promoted to Activities Coordinator, then Assistant Service Coordinator, and finally and most recently Service Manager Transcontinental. During his career Michael has also served on the On-train Health and Safety Committee for Via West, National Policy Subcommittees for Sleep Science and Covid-19, and has spoken publicly at multiple Health and Safety Conferences.
Michael and Erin married 2014 in and they started their life together in Pinawa. Erin is an active volunteer in the community and has worked with many social groups and activities, such as the Christmas Committee, Grassroots, Ladies’ and Children’s Clothing Swap, and Soup and Play.
We must remember that it is people that make a community. It is in the community that we find our home. With courage and compassion, Michael is determined to make a real difference in the lives of Pinawaneans. Together, we can realize the potential of this amazing town.