Unprecedented Election: First Nations Individual Elected as Premier of a Canadian Province for the First Time

by Chloe Baker
1 comment
First Nations Premier

In a historic milestone for Canada, the electorate of Manitoba has chosen a First Nations individual to assume the role of premier for one of its provinces.

Wab Kinew led the New Democratic Party to a victory, capturing the majority of seats in the Manitoba legislature during Tuesday’s election, thus unseating the incumbent Progressive Conservatives. He is now set to head the government of Manitoba as its premier.

“Voters in Manitoba cast their ballots in favor of improved healthcare and a more positive vision for the future. If this also means electing an Indigenous premier, then it further signifies our nation’s progress,” Kinew remarked during a news conference on Wednesday.

At 41 years of age, Kinew stated that the Manitoban public rejected the divisive rhetoric of the Progressive Conservatives and instead gravitated towards his party’s message of unity. “I am extraordinarily proud that our province has chosen to transcend such division,” he declared.

Raised in his early years on the Onigaming First Nation in northwestern Ontario, Kinew later relocated to Winnipeg with his family. Notably, his late father was denied the right to vote under Canadian laws in place at that time.

During his post-election address late on Tuesday, Kinew spoke directly to young Indigenous individuals as well as those from all backgrounds facing challenges. “You have the power to better your own circumstances, but the desire must come from within you,” he emphasized. “Whether it’s abandoning a life of partying, entering the workforce, or seeking healing from illness, the initiative must originate from you. Neither I nor any government can make that choice for you.”

Kinew’s diverse career background includes roles as a rapper, broadcaster, and university administrator. After studying economics at university, he went on to host a radio show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and was subsequently appointed as the University of Winnipeg’s first director of Indigenous inclusion.

“This is the most arduous task I have ever undertaken, and the real work is still ahead of me,” Kinew acknowledged. “I intend to approach this position with the utmost seriousness and humility.”

Kinew initially entered politics in 2016 when he ran for the Manitoba New Democrats, subsequently winning a seat in the Fort Rouge district in Winnipeg.

While Manitoba had a Métis premier, John Norquay, as early as 1878, the history of First Nations individuals in elected provincial office is relatively recent. It wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that First Nations individuals were granted unrestricted voting rights in both provincial and federal elections in Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office released a statement confirming that he had spoken with Kinew to congratulate him on the landmark victory.

Furthermore, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs characterized Kinew’s election as a monumental achievement. “This marks a fresh chapter for First Nations in Manitoba,” Grand Chief Cathy Merrick stated. “I am eager to work closely with the premier to meet the needs of our member Nations.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about First Nations Premier

What is the significance of Wab Kinew’s election as premier of Manitoba?

Wab Kinew’s election as premier of Manitoba is significant because he is the first First Nations member to hold this position in a Canadian province. This historic milestone marks progress in Indigenous representation in Canadian politics.

What party did Wab Kinew represent in the election?

Wab Kinew represented the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the Manitoba election.

How did Wab Kinew’s party perform in the election?

Wab Kinew’s NDP won a majority of seats in Manitoba’s legislature, resulting in a victory over the incumbent Progressive Conservatives.

What message did Wab Kinew convey in his post-election address?

In his post-election address, Wab Kinew emphasized the importance of unity and a positive vision for the future, while also encouraging individuals, regardless of their background, to take initiative in improving their lives.

Who was John Norquay, and why is he mentioned in the text?

John Norquay was the first Indigenous person to serve as premier in Manitoba, back in 1878. He was Métis, which means he had mixed European and Indigenous ancestry. He is mentioned to provide historical context about Indigenous representation in Manitoba’s political leadership.

When did First Nations people in Canada gain unrestricted voting rights?

First Nations people in Canada gained unrestricted voting rights in provincial and federal elections in the 1950s and 1960s. This marked a significant step towards political equality.

Has Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to Wab Kinew’s election?

Yes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Wab Kinew and congratulated him on his historic win.

How did the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs react to Wab Kinew’s election?

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs described Wab Kinew’s election as a significant accomplishment and expressed a desire to collaborate with him to address the needs of their member Nations.

More about First Nations Premier

You may also like

1 comment

Jen88 October 5, 2023 - 4:42 pm

wao, dis is so gud news! 1st Nation leader as premier – big step fwd. I luv unity msg by Kinew, we all need dat.


Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News