Paul Grenier - takes home a Prix Riel

May 26, 2017

Originally from Saint-Léon and a graduate of the agriculture program at Brandon University, Paul Grenier is a leading volunteer and benefactor in Manitoba’s Francophone community.  A successful farm operator and proud owner of a 6,000-acre family (three generations) farm, married, a father of two and now a grandfather, Paul could very easily have chosen to devote himself exclusively to his family and occupation.

Paul Grenier, president of CDEM from2009 to 2013

Instead, however, he has become a direct contributor to the vitality and prosperity of the Francophone community in the village of Saint-Léon, the Lourdéon area and all Manitoban bilingual communities. His contributions have been numerous and significant.

Since 1974, Paul has volunteered his time as a member of more than 25 major committees and boards of directors in his community. Also on a volunteer basis, he has served as president of the following Francophone committees and organizations: Saint-Léon cultural committee (1973-1974), Saint-Léon historic book committee (1996-2000), committee for Manitoba’s first wind farm in Saint-Léon (2002-present), round table for economic development of Saint-Léon (2002-present), French pavilion at the Festival des nations (1996-2000) and Economic Development Council for Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities (CDEM) (2009-2013).

Paul has volunteered his services to Manitoba’s French-language community on many levels, ranging from arts and culture to French-language education, heritage, health and politics. However, in nominating Paul for the Order of Manitoba, it is his contribution to economic development that we seek to highlight in particular.

Paul has a deep love for his Francophone community of Saint-Léon. Since he was a young man, he has been striving on a volunteer basis to promote prosperity in his native region. He believes fervently that from a long-term perspective, the progress of Saint-Léon, the La Montagne region and Manitoba’s entire Francophone community depends first and foremost on economic development. This vision guided his decision to become a member of the CDEM board from the day of that organization’s founding in 1996, going on subsequently to serve as vice-president (2005-2008) and president (2009-2013).

For a number of years at the CDEM, he also chaired several committees, including the agri-food/rural committee. It was in this role that he began pushing for progress among Manitoba’s Francophone cooperatives.

He was also one of the first members of the Saint-Léon round table committee, formed in 1996, also representing the people of Saint-Léon to the Lourdéon Community Development Corporation (CDC). Continuing to serve on the round table committee to this day, Paul promotes the interests of Saint-Léon while also embracing a regional approach through which everyone benefits. Without the influence of the round table and Paul Grenier, the Saint-Léon Interpretive Centre (with its salamander gallery) and the wind farm in Saint-Léon would probably not exist.

 

The bust of Louis Riel for the awards ceremony

Sharing his entrepreneurial vision, drive and strategic political sense with the CDEM and the other economic development entities to which he has volunteered his time, this proud resident of Saint-Léon has contributed tirelessly to the implementation of galvanizing structural projects in Francophone communities across the entire province. It was also during his tenure as president of the CDEM that Manitoba bilingual municipalities saw their first wave of major infrastructure projects, and Paul ensured that the spin-off benefits of this momentum were maximized for the community. Extremely well connected and highly respected by actors in municipal, provincial and federal politics, Paul knew how to move forward on issues working closely with ministers and other leaders and influencers on all levels of government to the benefit of his province’s Francophone community.