A former Manitoba premier is set to release a memoir about his time in office.
Gary Filmon, who sat in the province’s top chair from 1988 to 1999, says his new book, Yes We Did: Leading in Turbulent Times, covers some of the biggest news stories of the era — the Flood of the Century, the Meech Lake Accord and the relocation of the Winnipeg Jets, among others — from an inside perspective.
“Even though it’s more than 21 years since I left public office, I felt it was time to tell some stories and let people know the behind-the-scenes,” Filmon told Global News.
“The public knows all the things we did do when I was in office, through the media… but it’s really the answer to the question, ‘What were they thinking when they did these things?’
“Lots of very, very critical things happened… and we were right in the center of it — I was — and I wanted to tell my side of the story.”
Filmon, who led Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives from 1983 to 2000, said the book was a labour of love, and a reflection on the fact that people who seek out public office — whatever their political stripe — are in the job out of a desire to give back and make Manitoba a better place.
One of the key periods of Filmon’s tenure as premier — the relocation of the Winnipeg Jets to Arizona in 1996, and the failed campaign to keep them in the Manitoba capital — is discussed in the book, and it’s something the former premier said he received death threats over at the time.
“It was heartbreaking. I was and continue to be a very large supporter of the Jets,” he said.
“I was at Portage and Main when they signed Bobby Hull back in 1971. I was involved throughout all the period of time that the Jets were here under the first iteration… and now today, I’m happy to go see them again, and it’s a very exciting time for Winnipeg.”