Firstly, Janice Filmon did service beyond the call and did it with kindness and leadership. She was in the position much longer than she expected and battled through health issues as did her husband Gary who very much helped her over these last years. As good as the position of Lt. Governor is, you become a symbol to the province while fulfilling a constitutional responsibility as a Queen’s representative and democratic guardian. The politics of before (had there been any) is left behind and you listen and champion the people you serve.

We will never know all all the names that were on the list to replace Filmon. But we do know that the demands of giving fully and not being committed to party politics, business or running other organizations is a hard one. The vetting for such a job is painstaking and it’s possible to still make errors in appointment as witnesses nationally with the Governor-General. Good on paper has to be matched by awesome people skills.

The federal government has announced that Anita Neville, longtime Liberal politician but retired for some time, has been appointed. At 80, she is older than the Lt. Governor she is replacing and is the first Jewish woman in Manitoba to hold the position. As a Trudeau appointment, she sends a message as Neville has been a long time supporter of Israel but also a champion of refugees. She has advocated for same-sex marriage and indigenous people. Her long time involvement as a school trustee, MP and community service should give her an understanding of her role as vice-regal.

Being Lieutenant Governor in a majority-run province isn’t overly political. It can be a time to show grace, compassion and to listen to the people and celebrate with them and mourn with them. Neville need only look at Janice Filmon to see how it can be done.

This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations