Manitoba could make history if Wab Kinew gets elected as its first First Nations premier

Wab Kinew. Image credit: Facebook page of Wab Kinew

#Manitoba; #WabKinew; #firstFirstNationsPremier

Winnipeg/CMEDIA:  With a potential of a First Nations premier leading a province of Manitoba for the first time in Canadian history provided the New Democrats win the Oct. 3 Manitoba election.

“My dad was not allowed to vote when he was a young man, and I have a shot at potentially leading the province,”  party leader Wab Kinew was reported saying in an interview with The Canadian Press last month…a big change that speaks to progress in our country and in our province within one generation.”

Born in Ontario, Kinew lived on the Onigaming First Nation as a young boy and learnt the importance of Anishinaabe culture and language from his late father, a residential school survivor who endured horrific abuse.

Following his election in the Winnipeg riding of Fort Rouge in 2016, Kinew launched a successful bid for NDP leader which led him on the path to potentially becoming the province’s first First Nations premier and second Indigenous premier.

John Norquay was the first Indigenous person to serve as Manitoba’s premier. Norquay, who was Metis, was the province’s fifth premier until 1887.

It was only in the ’50s and ’60s that First Nations people were allowed to vote without conditions in provincial and federal elections.

“There are historic barriers that are still being overcome…like intergenerational trauma, other things are systemic barriers,” said Kinew.

Having to walk in two worlds, indigenous politicians often have to balance the expectations within their own community and as an elected official representing a constituency.

Kinew has reportedly said that besides being the best First Nations premier, he also wants to be the province’s best premier. 

Irrespective of the fact of Kinew’s success in this year’s election, Kinew believes Manitoba is moving forward as a province and added,

“If we have increased participation from all corners of society, I think that strengthens our democracy.”