People passionate about nature

Gerry McKinney

Honorary Membership 1985

This award is being presented to an individual for his longstanding work and political lobbying on behalf of Manitobans against the Garrison Diversion unit which has represented a threat to many aspects of Manitoba’s natural heritage – in particular the ecological balance of Lake Winnipeg, the relative purity of the Souris and lower Assiniboine systems.

His participation as a grass-roots organizer of groups and individuals against the GDU has been an important factor in the recent reversal of the project, with its new terms of reference being much more acceptable to Canadian interests.

He was born in the Souris River valley (an international river) on May 29th, 1932, having strong family and community bonds in both the United States and Canada that remain to this day.

As a result of his contributions to the Canadian Armed Forces as a medical assistant, most notably in the Korean War, 1950-53, he was presented with the Military Medal by Governor General, Vincent Massey for conspicuous gallantry under enemy fire in care of the wounded.

From 1972 to the present he has devoted his working hours to the fight against the Garrison Diversion Project in North Dakota. He was the first foreign national to ever testify on a water project in the congress of the United States on April 1, 1980. He subsequently was back in Washington 3 more times, once more to testify against Garrison funding on April 2, 1984. 

On April 30, 1984, in recognition of his services, the Honourable Al Mackling, then Minister of Natural Resources for the Province of Manitoba, presented him with the Order of the Buffalo Hunt – Manitoba’s highest award to a citizen.

After 12 years he has announced his retirement and whilst considering offers in the environmental field, including one in Washington D.C., his most pressing concerns are the promoting of Irish language and culture and the gaining of greater mutual understanding between all those peoples in Canada’s multicultural mosaic in the fullest cooperation with the Governments of Manitoba and Canada.