One of the first guests to give greetings was Darlene Dziewit,
president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, who said she had
experienced “a transforming visit to Israel.”
“It is important to see that in Manitoba, [unlike other provinces,
where labour federations have supported boycotting Israel], people who
identify with the left politically are also supporters of Israel,”
NDP member of Parliament Judy Wasylycia-Leis, (Winnipeg-North) gave
greetings and said how exciting it was for her to be in Israel in May
for its 60th anniversary celebrations. She noted that Pat Martin,
another NDP MP (for Winnipeg Centre) was present at the event.
The first half of the Shared Values concert featured the music of
Hinode Taiko, a drumming group, as well as dances by the India School
of Dance Music and Theatre, and the Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble.
Manitoba Justice Minister David Chomiak, who attended the event, said he is “a big supporter of Israel.”
He added: “I was one of the Ukrainian kids who used to dance with Rusalka. I wasn’t that good. I was in the back row.”
The concert also featured an amazing hoop dance by First Nations
dancer Brian Cline, accompanied with vocals and drums by Ray Stevensen.
Cline was introduced by former Assembly of First Nations chief Ovid
Mercredi [sic], from the Grand Rapids First nations, who has also been to
Israel several times on missions with the Jewish National Fund.
About 200 members of First Nations communities from northern
Manitoba, Northern Ontario and Saskatchewan came to Winnipeg for the
“Many First Nations people have a real connection to Israel because
of the things that we [the First Nations and the Jewish People have]
suffered. Israelis have a love for the land and we also have a love for
the land,” said Linda Mavsilar, a Christian member of a First Nations
community in Saskatchewan.
“It is our intention to grow the Manitoba-Israel Shared Values
Roundtable, and attract members of different faiths and communities,”
said Sharon Blady, an NDP MLA for Kirkfield Park.
Andrew Swan, the province’s minister of competitiveness, training
and trade, also gave greetings and said that Manitoba, can learn a lot
from Israel’s experience “of being able to take in one million
immigrants from the former Soviet Union.”