By Marianne Curtis
The south east has lost one of the region’s hardest working political figures when former Steinbach MLA Albert Driedger passed away suddenly on July 18 after suffering a stroke.
Born in Steinbach, Driedger started his political career as reeve of the RM of Hanover. While maintaining a farm in Grunthal, he took his political career further when he was elected as MLA of Emerson and then Steinbach as a Progressive Conservative from 1977 to 1999. While a member of the Filmon government from 1988 to 1997 he served as Minister of Government Services, Minister of Highways and Transportation, and Minister of Natural Resources.
After he retired from politics, Driedger continued to tirelessly lobby for better services and healthcare in the region. Being an instrumental driving force behind the expansion of the Menno Home in Grunthal is among his many accomplishments.
Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen worked as Driedger’s executive assistant back when he was still in office.
“Albert had a unique personal touch and to this day when I meet people who knew Albert even briefly, they speak of the strong personal impression he left on them,“ stated Goertzen. “Most often, people remark that Albert “was a character” with an ability to put a smile on the face of those he met while at the same time making his point clearly known.“
Provencher MP Vic Toews echoed Goertzen`s fond words.
“It was only after he retired from provincial politics and I became the federal MP for Provencher, that I was able to witness on an ongoing basis the degree to which Albert was dedicated to public service and the people of south eastern Manitoba,“ Toews added. “Upon retirement, Albert refused to slow down. He continued to volunteer his time to his community as he persistently advocated and pushed for better community services and health care – Grunthal, and all of southeastern Manitoba, has lost a great community leader and friend.“
Driedger leaves behind his wife Mary, five children, thirteen grandchildren and seven great-grand-children.
Former Steinbach MLA Albert Driedger passed away suddenly July 18.