Manitoba’s next premier pledged on Saturday to work closely with Métis citizens and leaders, and promised there will be Métis representation at the highest levels of the provincial government once the NDP are sworn in.
“This coming Wednesday, we are going to be sworn in to government and we are going to announce our new cabinet,” Premier-designate Wab Kinew said Saturday morning, while speaking at the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) Annual General Assembly (AGA) in Winnipeg.
“I want to reassure you and let you know that when we name our cabinet for this government, there will be Métis voices at the table.”
Kinew’s promise of Métis representation received a long and rousing round of applause from the hundreds in attendance at the AGA that was held at the Assiniboia Downs.
“When we talk about these important areas like health care and education and jobs there’s going to be Métis people at the MMF side of the table, but there is also going to be MMF representation at the provincial side of the table,” Kinew said.
Kinew claimed that he has watched as both Winnipeg’s municipal government and Canada’s federal government have in recent years worked with and cooperated with Métis citizens and leaders, and said the Métis will now have an opportunity to work more closely with the provincial government, after the NDP are sworn in on Wednesday.
“I’m very proud that we have a civic government and a federal government working to do great things to make life better for the Métis people, and I am committing to you today that you will now have a provincial government that will step up and deliver on that same work,” Kinew said.
“I’m very optimistic for the things we can do together.”Kinew said on Saturday he was also pledging to Métis citizens and to all Manitobans that once he and the NDP government are sworn in, the party will work to do away with much of what he said is the “divisiveness” he sees in Manitoba, in politics and in society.
“Manitobans, Métis people included, they don’t want to be divided, we had too much of that during the pandemic, and over the last three years,” Kinew said.
“We want to come together, we want to build one province for all of us as Manitobans, and we are going to move into that new progressive direction.”
Kinew also pledged on Saturday that he plans to work with the MMF to see former Métis Leader Louis Riel, a man commonly referred to as the Father of Manitoba, officially recognized as Manitoba’s first ever premier, something MMF has been trying to get done for years.
MMF president David Chartrand, who gave his annual ‘State of the Nation’ address on Saturday, said the MMF is hoping to work closely with and support Kinew once he takes office, because Chartrand believes it won’t be long until the new premier starts to be heavily criticized by his opponents.
“Everyone is going to be waiting and watching, and one mistake and they will be pouncing , because that is typical of what happens to Indigenous people when they make a mistake,” Chartrand said.
“But I want to assure you that the MMF will have your back.”