Announcement of Honorary Degrees at RMC’s 126th Convocation


The Honourable Murray Sinclair CC, MSC

The Honourable Murray Sinclair’s legal credentials are well known. What is less well known is that he is Anishinaabe and a member of the Peguis First Nation. He is a Fourth Degree Chief of the Midewiwin Society, a traditional healing and spiritual society of the Anishinaabe Nation responsible for protecting the teachings, ceremonies, laws, and history of the Anishinaabe. His Spirit Name is Mizhana Gheezhik (The One Who Speaks of Pictures in the Sky).

His Honour graduated from law school in 1979. He has been involved with the justice system in Manitoba for over 40 years, first as a lawyer representing Indigenous clients, as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Robson Hall, as Associate Chief Judge of Manitoba’s Provincial Court and as a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench. He was the first Indigenous Judge appointed in Manitoba and Canada’s second.

He served as Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba and as Chief Commissioner of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As head of the TRC, he participated in hundreds of hearings across Canada, culminating in the TRC’s widely influential report in 2015. He also oversaw an active multi-million dollar fundraising program to support various TRC events and activities, and to allow survivors to travel to attend TRC events. In 2017 Governor General Julie Payette awarded him and the other TRC Commissioners the Meritorious Service Cross (Civilian) (MSC) for service to Canada for their work on the TRC.

He was active within the profession and his community and was a member of the faculty of the National Judicial Institute training judges about Indigenous law and social justice issues. He has won numerous awards, including the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Manitoba Bar Association’s Equality Award (2001), its Distinguished Service Award (2016) and the CBA President’s medal (2018). He has been named as one of Canada’s Indigenous People’s Counsel (IPC) by the Indigenous Bar Association.

He has received Honorary Doctorates from 19 universities. He retired from the Bench in January 2016, and was appointed to the Senate on April 2, 2016. He retired from the Senate effective January 31, 2021, to return to the practice of law and to mentor young lawyers.

He has been invited to speak throughout Canada and internationally, including the Cambridge Lectures for members of the Judiciary of the Commonwealth Courts.  He continues to maintain an active public speaking schedule and was named the 15th Chancellor of Queen’s University in July 2021. His Honour is currently writing his memoirs.

Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) P.F. Wynnyk, CMM, MSM, CD 

In 1981, after four years as an Army Cadet, Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk joined the 20th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (Militia) in the rank of Gunner prior to his acceptance under the Regular Officer Training Plan. Studying at both Royal Roads Military College and the Royal Military College of Canada, he was commissioned into the Canadian Military Engineers in 1986 and subsequently undertook regimental duties in both Europe and in Canada. 

LGen Wynnyk’s command appointments included 1 Combat Engineer Regiment from 1997 to 1999, 1 Area Support Group from 2004 to 2006, Land Force Western Area/Joint Task Force West (now 3rd Canadian Division) from 2010 to 2012, Canadian Forces Intelligence Command from 2014 to 2016 and the Canadian Army from 2016 to 2018.  During the latter assignment, he was also privileged to be the Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples.

Serving in a variety of staff assignments over the course of his career, LGen Wynnyk held a number of positions at National Defence Headquarters including the operations desk officer responsible for Canada's military commitment in the Balkans, and a posting to the Privy Council Office where he was employed as the Senior Defence Advisor and Director of Operations for the Foreign and Defence Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister. 

LGen Wynnyk's overseas assignments include, in addition to four years of service in Germany, tours with the UN Advance Mission in Cambodia, the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia, and an assignment as the Canadian Task Force Commander and mission Chief of Operations of the Mission de l'Organisation des Nations Unies en République démocratique du Congo. In 2009, he was posted to the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan as the Assistant Commanding General responsible for overseeing the development of the Afghan Ministry of Defense and the Afghan National Army.

LGen Wynnyk is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Command and Staff Course, the Advanced Military Studies Course and the National Security Studies Programme. He holds a Baccalaureate in civil engineering, Master's degrees in both war studies and business administration (international business), and is a registered professional engineer in the province of Alberta as well as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. LGen Wynnyk is a Commander of the Order of Military Merit, a graduate of the French Commando Course, and has been decorated by the Governments of Afghanistan, Brazil, Columbia and the United States for his leadership in promoting international security and cooperation.

LGen Wynnyk was appointed Vice Chief of the Defence Staff on July 16, 2018 and retired from the Canadian Armed Forces on August 9, 2019.  On October 7, 2019, he joined the Public Service of Alberta and was appointed Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs. While undertaking this assignment, he was also appointed to develop and lead the Province’s Pandemic Response Planning Team, the Personal Protective Equipment Task Force and Alberta’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.  Since May of 2021, LGen Wynnyk has served as the Deputy Minister of Health.

Date modified: