It is with profound sadness and a deep sense of loss that we mark the passing of Duff Roblin, Premier Greg Selinger said today.
“On behalf of all Manitobans, I offer condolences to Duff Roblin’s family in their time of grief,” Selinger said. “As we share in their loss, it is also appropriate to honour and celebrate a man whose leadership and vision were instrumental in creating the modern province of Manitoba.”
Roblin passed away on Sunday at the age of 92 in Winnipeg’s Victoria General Hospital. Born in 1917, he was the province’s 14th premier and served from 1958 to 1967. He was also the grandson of Sir Rodmond Roblin, who was premier from 1900 to 1915.
“Duff Roblin was a man of great dignity who could reach out to Manitobans in all walks of life,” Selinger said. “While he is best known for his long fight to build the Red River Floodway, which has saved the city time after time, he launched deep reforms and initiatives in many areas of government that have benefited many generations.”
After serving his country during the Second World War, Roblin went to work for Manitobans in the provincial legislature. His government modernized the education and health systems, launched a regional government for Winnipeg, introduced crop insurance for farmers and a social allowance for the disadvantaged, built new highways and created Grand Beach and Birds Hill provincial parks.
“His gaze didn’t stop at the boundary of the capital city, or at the end of any one political term – it encompassed the entire province and extended well into the future,” Selinger said. “All of his actions improved the lives of Manitobans and set this province on a course that ensured it would thrive.”
Roblin wasn’t afraid to make difficult decisions or take unpopular stands if he believed it would benefit Manitobans, Selinger said, adding he was a superb role model.
“He faced criticism for years for his belief that a floodway should be built to protect Winnipeg but he never gave up the fight and lived to see his faith vindicated,” Selinger said.
Roblin’s strength of conviction and his unflagging desire to serve his country kept him active long after he left the Manitoba legislature, Selinger added. He ran for leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative party in 1967 and narrowly missed winning the post.
In 1978, then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau appointed him to the Senate, where he served until the age of 75 in 1992. Even in retirement, Manitoba premiers from different parties turned to him for advice on important issues, which he gladly offered, said Selinger.
Flags on all Government of Manitoba buildings will fly at half mast until sunset on June 3 and a book of condolence will also be set up at the Legislative Building and online through the Government of Manitoba website at http://www.gov.mb.ca/condolence/. All Manitobans are invited to sign.
As well, a single white rose will be placed on every MLA’s desk in the Legislative Chamber today in memory of Duff Roblin.
A private service will be held later this week for family and close friends.
UWinnipeg Mourns Loss of Duff Roblin
University of Winnipeg President & Vice-Chancellor Dr. Lloyd Axworthy today issued the following statement on the passing of former Manitoba Premier, The Honourable Duff Roblin:
“It is with profound sadness today that we learned of the passing of The Honourable Duff Roblin. Dr. Roblin was an outstanding Manitoban, a patron of education and someone who demonstrated exemplary citizenship.
“As Premier of Manitoba, Dr. Roblin oversaw the transformation of United College into the new degree-granting University of Winnipeg in 1967. He is a signator to the Charter that created our University and he was a constant supporter of our institution.
“Beyond his commitment to UWinnipeg, Dr. Roblin’s support of education included restoring the use of French in Manitoba schools and increasing opportunities for Manitobans to obtain post-secondary education, which he himself valued highly.
“In recognition of his contributions to education, we granted Dr. Roblin an Honourary Degree. As well, our University and our Foundation established the Duff Roblin Award to proudly recognize Dr. Roblin for his life-long commitment to the community and advanced education in Manitoba.
“The University of Winnipeg passes on its heartfelt condolences to his family.”
PC Leader Hugh McFadyen Issues Statement on The Passing of the Honourable Dufferin “Duff” Roblin, PC, CC, OM
Duff Roblin inspired generations of Manitobans: McFadyen
Progressive Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen issued the following statement today on the passing of the Honourable Duff Roblin:
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Duff Roblin. I was fortunate to get to know him, and we are all fortunate to have had him as Premier. Duff Roblin was voted the greatest Manitoban for a reason. He faced down opposition to build the floodway and began the building of modern Manitoba. The development of Hydro, the modernization of our education system, and the building of our modern road system are all part of his remarkable legacy. His abiding optimism about our province’s untapped potential inspires a whole new generation of Manitobans.”
“Over the past few years I have appreciated his thoughtful advice on the major challenges facing our province today. He was a gentleman in every sense. On behalf of all our MLAs and Progressive Conservative Members, I would like to express our condolences to his remarkable wife Mary, and the entire Roblin family. Our prayers are with them during this time of mourning.”