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Former Winnipeg mayor, Brian Bowman, sworn-in as judge

A familiar face has been sworn-in to the Court of the King’s Bench.

Friday afternoon, former Winnipeg mayor, Brian Bowman, officially took a seat as a judge in the court.

“In addition to his professional experience, Justice Bowman has demonstrated himself to be a generous community volunteer and has been bestowed many honors, including the Queen Elizabeth the Second’s Palladium Jubilee Medal. All of these experiences and qualities will serve him well (in) taking on his judicial role,” said Justice Diana Cameron, a judge in the Court of Appeal.

Before becoming a judge, Bowman had experience as a business lawyer, as the VP of Sustainability and Social Impact for Great West Life, and — of course — as Winnipeg’s Mayor from 2014 to 2022.

Chief Justice Glenn Joyal joked that there would be some difficult adjustments for Bowman in his new appointment.

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“Old habits die hard. For example, only after some self-discipline and effort has Justice Bowman finally stopped calling the courthouse his constituency. Just as he has stopped referring to those who appear on the civil uncontested list as ‘my fellow citizens.’ In addition, as a personal favor to me, he has promised to stop introducing me as his chief of staff,” he said as laughter filled the packed courtroom.

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On a more serious note, Joyal said “Many of the skills of his previous vocation, I’m sure, will serve him well and infuse his daily and adjudicated judgment with a wise and all-things-considered perspective and approach.”

Premier Wab Kinew was also in attendance at the swearing-in ceremony.

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“The person I’ve gotten to know,” Kinew said “is a tremendous asset to our community and society.”

He referenced a MacLean’s article that was published almost a decade ago, headlining “Welcome to Winnipeg: Where Canada’s racism problem is at its worst.”

“I don’t think I would have had the magnanimity and grace that he showed on that occasion. But what I do remember (was) now Justice Bowman showing us that his inclination is to bring people together,” the premier said.

“I know that Justice Bowman shed some tears on that day. It was in that time that I saw the deep pride he held for our community that had been wounded, and yet also the spirit of wanting to be able to answer and to be able to respond on behalf of our fellow citizens.”

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“Congratulations, my friend. We are very proud of you. This is a big deal,” he finished.

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