Historic Opportunity for First Nations Premier in Upcoming Manitoba Election


In a historic move, the stage is set for a First Nations premier to potentially govern a Canadian province for the first time, assuming the New Democrats clinch a win at the Manitoba election scheduled for October 3rd. Wab Kinew, the party leader, is well aware of what such a momentous leap would signify.

Reflecting on the journey, Kinew says, “My father wasn’t permitted to vote when he was a young man. Now, I stand on the threshold of potentially leading the province. This dramatic shift within one generation embodies the progress we’ve made as a nation and province.”

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Kinew, a native of Ontario who spent his early childhood on the Onigaming First Nation, was bequeathed the value of Anishinaabe culture and language by his late father, a survivor of residential school abuses. Starting his political career in Winnipeg’s Fort Rouge riding in 2016, he made a successful bid as the NDP leader the next year, placing him on a path to potentially becoming Manitoba’s first First Nations premier and the second Indigenous premier.

Roots of Indigenous political representation in Manitoba are not too deep historically. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that First Nations individuals were permitted to vote unconditionally in provincial and federal elections. The progress witnessed since then has been significant but measured. Although a growing number of Indigenous individuals have entered provincial politics, their representation remains disproportionately low.

“Intergenerational trauma and systemic barriers are among the historical impediments still being overcome,” Kinew asserts. The potential emergence of Kinew as premier would challenge existing stereotypes and prove the possibility of Indigenous individuals achieving success at the highest level, observes Real Carriere, Assistant Professor of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba.

Witnessing successful representation can have a profound influence on the younger generation as Kevin Chief, former NDP member, and cabinet minister notes. “You can’t simply tell the youth it’s possible; you need to show them,” he insists. Chief emphasizes the need for support from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous voters, illustrating a broader reconciliation movement in Canadian politics and other sectors. Indigenous leaders often have to toe a dual line of expectations – within their own community and the wider constituency they represent.

As we laud these major strides, it is worthy to remember that as a society we are always in motion, propelling ourselves towards what we want to achieve. A society that is represented by all its facets is the bedrock of a robust democracy. As much as we value our past, we must remember to thrive in the present and plan for the future.

Speaking of the future, as life transitions to online, there are now opportunities to be seized in every corner, even in your leisure time. For instance, there’s a growing move towards online entertainment, with online casinos becoming prevalent. At West Island Blog, we present a comprehensive listing of Canada’s top-rated online casinos for this month, inviting our readers to safely enjoy the various games and betting options available right at their fingertips. The shift to digital is very much like the ongoing transformation in Canadian politics— dynamic, thrilling and full of potential. Just as our political landscape is becoming more inclusive, so is our choice of entertainment, leading to an enriching experience for all.