Bonnie Mitchelson


We are pleased to present the 2017 Martin Bergen Award to Bonnie Mitchelson in recognition of her commitment to the community and Concordia.

A registered nurse for more than eighteen years, Bonnie was first elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1986 to represent the River East Constituency.  Re-elected in 1988 as part of the Progressive Conservative government, she was appointed the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Recreation and Minister responsible for Lotteries, Multiculturalism and Citizenship.

Re-elected in 1990, the Status of Women was added to her responsibilities.  She was appointed Minister of Family Services in 1993 and was Manitoba’s representative on the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Council for Social Policy Renewal, which was responsible for the implementation of the National Child Benefit. Re-elected in 1995, she went on to become the longest serving social services minister in Canada.

After winning her fifth election in 1999 as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for River East, Bonnie became the first woman to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba on May 29, 2000, when she was selected as Interim Leader. Bonnie served as opposition critic for Family Services and Persons with Disabilities as well as Immigration and Multiculturalism.   

Bonnie has always worked to improve the quality of life in River East, and helped make many community projects a reality:


  • the expansion of the Calvin Christian School;
  • the 40 bed addition and renovation of Donwood Manor Personal Care Home;
  • the completion of twin arenas for Gateway Recreation Centre and the Gateway Soccerplex;
  • the establishment of the Seniors Health and Wellness Resource Team;
  • the completion of the Northeast link of the Perimeter Highway (from Dugald Road to Lagimodiere Boulevard);
  • the creation and development of the Congregate Meal Programs in seniors’ apartment blocks
  • the construction of 120 beds at River East Personal Care Home
  • the construction of 120 Beds at the Kildonan Personal Care Home


Bonnie continues to embrace the needs of others and has actively participated with community organizations like the Kidney Foundation, the Manitoba Cancer Society, the Manitoba Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Salvation Army, the Movement Centre, and Crime Stoppers. She retired in 2015 from the Concordia Foundation Board where she had served as a Director since 1998.