Oct 04, 2023

By Jane Brown

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Manitobans are waking up Wednesday to a new government and the first First Nations provincial premier in Canada.

NDP Leader Wab Kinew told supporters during his election victory speech that he was given a second chance in life, when he stopped making excuses and started looking for a purpose.

“And I found that reason in our family, I found that reason in our community, and I found that reason in our province and country,” Kinew explained, “And so to young people out there who want to change their life for the better, you can do it.”

Kinew and the Manitoba New Democrats defeated the Progressive Conservatives to form a majority government, which resulted in the resignations of the other two main party leaders.

Now the former premier, Heather Stefanson announced she would step down after leading the Tories for nearly two years.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont resigned after he lost his Winnipeg riding and his party was reduced to one seat from the previous three.

Kinew’s campaign focussed on improving healthcare and making life more affordable.

Grand Chief Cathy Merrick of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says Kinew’s victory signifies a huge accomplishment and a new chapter for First Nations in the province.

Kinew was raised as a young boy on a First Nation in northwestern Ontario and later moved with his family to Winnipeg.

His late father, a residential school survivor, was not allowed to vote as a young man under Canadian law at the time.

Eric Robinson, a former Manitoba NDP cabinet minister and deputy premier, says Kinew’s win is gratifying.

Robinson said he was friends with Kinew’s father, who was instrumental in teaching his son culture and language.

He says he expects Kinew to use those teachings to help inform him as premier.

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