April 28, 2010
The Stanley Knowles Solidarity Award is presented at each Convention of the Manitoba New Democratic Party to a trade unionist who has shown a deep commitment to working people and the achievement of social justice through recognized contributions to the union movement and the Manitoba New Democratic Party. Stanley Knowles epitomized the special relationship between Party and Labour which this award is intended to recognize. As a life-long member of the International Typographical Union, a founding member of the CCF and the NDP, a member of the CLC Executive, and a long serving Member of Parliament, Stanley Knowles worked tirelessly to advance the causes of social justice for working people through both labour and party.
Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger (left), Eugene Kostyra, and Kevin Rebeck at the the presentation ceremony during the Manitoba NDP 2010 Convention.
The 2010 award was given to a long-time friend of both workers and New Democrats, Eugene Kostyra. Kostyra has been a member of the NDP since 1967, during which time he worked in every Provincial and Federal election campaign. He was president and E.P.C. Chair of Seven Oaks Provincial Riding Association in 1969 when the NDP first formed the Manitoba Government. He served as the MLA for Seven Oaks Riding from 1981 to 1988, and was a cabinet minister in the Pawley Government from 1981 to 1988. He worked for Premier Gary Doer from 1999 to 2007. In addition to his work in Manitoba, Eugene has been a campaign worker for campaigns in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland during both federal and provincial elections.
He was a member of and activist for CUPE from 1967 to 1973, a staff member at CUPE from 1973 to 1981 and 1988 to 1999. He has been active with both the MFL and Winnipeg Labour Council to promote strong connections and support with the NDP.
Somehow he also find time to work on various volunteer committees and boards including, Workplace Health and Safety, Civil Liberties Association of Canada, United Way Cabinet Committee, Community Unemployed Help Centre, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Prairie Theatre Exchange, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Brother Kostyra is now semi-retired with his partner Jeir, living in the Interlake region of Manitoba.
During the Award Presentation, MFL President Kevin Rebeck commented that the achievements listed above are “only a thumbnail sketch of the things Eugene has been up to for the past four decades or so. I can hardly wait to see what the list will look like after another four decades of semi-retirement.