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Veteran newspaperman ninety years young


Probably the longest contributing newspaperman in Canada’s history is turning 90 years young on September 19th, our very own Murray Harvey.
Harvey was born in a little house on the corner of Seventh Street and Bignell Ave in 1931. His experiences which he documents in his weekly column, give us a glimpse into the life and history of the community through the Great Depression, the Second World War and beyond. In high school he self describes having been a day dreamer and “playing hooky” and being a frequent visitor to the principal’s office for lectures and corporal punishment. He managed to leave high school early a few steps ahead of the truant officer.
Harvey, proudly served his country with the local reserve army unit, 10th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (Fort Garry Horse) at age 14 (said he was sixteen) in 1946. The regiment re-mustered and changed to 161 Battery, 52nd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery. He served from 1946 to 1949 and was discharged with the rank of Sergeant. He then joined the Canadian Army Active force in 1949 and served in the Royal Canadian Artillery as an Artillery Signaler and was honourably released in 1952 with the rank of Bombardier. Once again, the call of service had him re-enlisting in the Active Force, Royal Canadian Artillery in May 1957 hoping to serve in Germany during the Cold War. Discharged as medically unfit for combat arms in September 1957. He then joined the Canadian Forces Supplementary Reserve (Cadet Instructors List) in 1989 and served as an officer and then Commanding Officer of 303 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Cadets until 1996 retiring with the rank of Captain.
When he wasn’t serving his country, he was employed in a variety of jobs including, truck and heavy equipment operator, motor transport supervisor, general foreman, engineer’s aide and miner’s helper. He served as a police constable with the Town of The Pas Police force from 1958-1959.
He then entered the Federal public service (National Employment Service Unemployment Service Commission, later Canada Department of Manpower and Immigration) in June 1959. Serving as Employment Officer, Employment Branch Supervisor and Manager in Flin Flon, Grande Prairie and Selkirk. Left the Federal service in June 1970 and joined the Provincial service (Department of Agriculture, then Northern Affairs) in June 1970 and served as Manager The Pas Manpower Corp and later General Manager of the Northern Manpower Corps until January 1978.
In February 1978, the Opasquia Times was created and published its first edition on March 17, 1978. He served as publisher until 1996 when he sold the paper to his son. Since then, he has served as a regular columnist till present, very likely being one of the longest serving contributors to a local newspaper in Canada’s history with 43 years of service.
Harvey, also started M. O. Harvey and Associates Ltd, a consulting company in 1978 and operated a successful consultancy with many projects across Manitoba until 2019. The corporation was dissolved in late 2019. He was the principal author of “The Benchmark Report” of the Northern Manitoba Economic Development Commission and the Northern Development Strategy.
He further served the community as Chairman of the Board of Manfor Ltd. Was the Dean of Continuing Education at Keewatin Community College, and remained connected with the college in a consulting capacity as instructor, Chairman of the Management Committee (acting President), consultant to the Board of Governors, Chair of the Board and Principal Consultant to the Northern Manitoba Forest Diversification Project.
His service with the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #19 started in 1952. Having served as President, Past President, Sergeant at Arms, Past Commander, and Life Member 2016. He joined Rotary International serving as Secretary, President, Past President and was a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellowship Medal in 1992. He served The Pas Chamber of Commerce as President, Past President, and Life Member 1992.
Some of his Honours and Awards, include but are not limited to: Life Member, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 19, Life Member, The Pas and District Chamber of Commerce, Paul Harris Fellowship Medal from Rotary International, The Pas, the Canadian Forces Decoration (C.D.), Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. His most appreciated unofficial title was “Mr. Northern Manitoba”, bestowed to him by the late Oscar Lathlin, Minister of Northern Affairs.