Winnipeg, oh Winnipeg

I don’t know what you’re assuming from the title, but this is by no means a Winnipeg bashing session, or in any way really has anything to do with people in Winnipeg…or the city itself. It’s really just about my observations regarding living in “rural” Manitoba (although I don’t think the city of Brandon is necessarily rural), and how everything seems to be centered around Winnipeg.

I’m used to things being tied up with a cute little bow in Ontario. In terms of getting things done, Ontario has it down pat. It’s called Service Ontario. You can go and get your license, health card, etc all in one place. And you can even go online and get some things done. I’m used to these service centers being available everywhere – large and small cities. However, when I moved here, I found myself frustrated that so much paperwork had to go through to Winnipeg.

I was surprised and frustrated when I found out that I had to send for my health card to Winnipeg. Why wasn’t there an office in Brandon that could do that? I just didn’t get it. And in my line of work, I’ll eventually have to do a Child Abuse Registry, which also has to go through to Winnipeg. Just another thing I don’t understand. And even getting my driver’s license the other day, they had to call Winnipeg to get all my new official license information. It’s all just a little foreign to me that an entire province can be so centered around one place.

I understand, Winnipeg holds more than half the population of Manitoba. But still, it’s not the entire population. And for many Manitoban’s, Winnipeg is a far ways away and is a completely different world. So my question is, why is the system so locked on Winnipeg? Brandon is small, sure. However, it’s still the second largest city in Manitoba and it services a large population in the south western region. So why can’t a little more be done here? It would be beneficial for both the city and the entire region.

Wow. Here I am, sounding like a bitter rural Manitoban who just doesn’t like this whole “Winnipeg is the center of the universe”…well, at least Manitoba. Am I crazy for feeling this way? Would no one else agree? I all of a sudden am starting to realize why so many Manitoban’s are bitter about politics in this province. It really does seem like an “us” vs. “them” mentality when it comes to Winnipeg and the rest of Manitoba. But are the rural Manitoban’s the only one thinking this way? Does Winnipeg pretty much just focus on itself and not have many worries about the rural areas? Or does Winnipeg care, or does it have the same mentality and bitterness? I honestly don’t know, so I’m not answering those questions. I hope to figure these things out in time.

The culture here is so interesting to figure out here, with there being only one large city in the province. How does Manitoba find balance to please everyone? Is it even possible? Anyway, like I said, I have no answers. It’s just some food for thought. Maybe I should get the premier on the phone…?