Kinew promises strong Indigenous leadership under an NDP government

The leader of the Manitoba NDP continues to make his case for First Nations leaders and community members to cast votes for the NDP in the upcoming election, saying his party would represent the interests of Indigenous people because it would bring strong Indigenous leaders to the Manitoba Legislature.

NDP leader and candidate for premier in Manitoba’s upcoming provincial election Wab Kinew spoke to First Nations Chiefs and leaders last week at an Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) annual meeting at the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, and again this week at a meeting of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Chiefs and officials held in Thompson, where he spoke virtually.

Kinew said he hopes to see First Nations voters come out and vote NDP, and he asked the chiefs to throw their support behind him and the party when voters go to the polls for the Oct. 3 provincial election in Manitoba.

“We’re ready to take the next step and I’ll be asking for your support to become premier, and our team will be asking for your support to form our next government here in Manitoba,” Kinew said.

Kinew said he believes there needs to be Indigenous representation at the Manitoba Legislature and provincial officials who know first-hand the wants and needs of Indigenous people, and that is something he said the NDP would bring to government.

“About one-third of our current caucus is made up of First Nations people, so we have strong First Nations leaders, and three members of our caucus are First Nations women, so we have strong First Nations women representation,” Kinew said.

Kinew added he believes that an NDP government would be able to work cooperatively with Manitoba chiefs because two of the candidates who will be running for MLA in the upcoming election are former chiefs themselves.

Current MLA and NDP Indigenous reconciliation and northern affairs critic Eric Redhead, who served two terms as Chief of the Shamattawa First Nation, will run for re-election in the Thompson riding, while Ian Bushie, the former Chief of the Hollow Water First Nation and current NDP critic for Transportation and Infrastructure will run for re-election in the Keewatinook riding.

“We have First Nations MLAs that know that you have very demanding jobs as leaders, you have phones that are ringing 24/7, and I think it’s important to have people who know what that’s like, so they can build a strong relationship, and move things forward in a good way,” Kinew said.

Indigenous candidates also running for the NDP in the upcoming election include Nahanni Fontaine, who is running for re-election in the St. Johns riding, Bernadette Smith who is running for re-election in Point Douglas, and Amanda Lathlin, who is running for re-election in The Pas riding.

Kinew also appealed to Indigenous and non-Indigenous voters to vote for Indigenous representatives in the upcoming provincial election, because he said it would show Manitobans that more Indigenous people belong at the table at all levels of government and at the “highest levels” of government.

“It sends a message to the kids in our communities that they can do it too,” Kinew said.

“But it is also important for the non-Indigenous kids in this province as well, the non-Indigenous kids who will see our team being sworn in, because for them there will never be any doubt that we should have Indigenous representation at the highest levels.”

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun