Wab Kinew officially sworn in as Manitoba’s 1st First Nations premier | CBC News

Wab Kinew officially sworn in as Manitoba’s 1st First Nations premier | CBC News


Wab Kinew has officially become Manitoba’s 25th premier, and the first First Nations premier of a Canadian province, following a colourful and tradition-filled swearing-in ceremony that Kinew said marked the dawn of a new day for the province. 

New cabinet sworn in Wednesday includes First Nations women for 1st time in province’s history

Sarah Petz · CBC News


A man wearing a headdress stands in front of a crowd of people.

Wab Kinew has officially been sworn in as Manitoba’s first First Nations premier. (Prabhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

Wab Kinew has officially become Manitoba’s 25th premier, and the first First Nations premier of a Canadian province, following a colourful and tradition-filled swearing-in ceremony that Kinew said marked the dawn of a new day for the province. 

Kinew took his oath of office, which was administered by Manitoba Lt.-Gov. Anita Neville, while wearing a ceremonial First Nations headdress in a ceremony at The Leaf in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park.

After taking his oath, Kinew greeted the crowd in the languages of seven different Manitoba Indigenous nations, and said Wednesday was the start of a new era. 

“Today is a new day in our province. Today, a new era begins and today we get to work for you, the people of Manitoba,” he said. 

“We’re committed to putting the people of Manitoba first, and we will devote every single day of the next four years to serving you and the future generations that will some day walk these lands.”

WATCH | Kinew promises ‘new day’ for Manitoba in 1st speech as premier: 

Wab Kinew addresses Manitobans at swearing-in ceremony

Featured VideoWab Kinew speaks about his commitments to Manitobans after being sworn in as the province’s 25th premier.

During his first speech as premier, Kinew stressed that fixing health care remains his government’s top priority. 

He called on health-care workers to be patient and stick around to help make the changes that are necessary. 

“Help is coming. We need you to stay on the front lines.”

Wednesday’s ceremony was steeped in Indigenous culture to mark the historic moment. 

It began with the lighting of the quilliq, a traditional Inuit oil lamp, and later featured traditional drumming and singing by Sioux Valley’s Dakota Hotain Singers and the Red River jig performed by Norman Chief Memorial Dancers, a Métis music and dance group.

It also includes remarks from First Nations leaders such as Murray Sinclair, a former judge and senator who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Kinew’s election as premier is Manitoba’s “true act of reconciliation,” said Sinclair.

“I want you to think of it that way. I want you to think of the fact that we are now entering a new phase,” he said to loud applause.

WATCH: Murray Sinclair says Manitoba election ‘true act of reconciliation’:

Murray Sinclair speaks at Premier Wab Kinew’s swearing-in ceremony

Featured VideoFormer senator Murray Sinclair talks about his hopes for reconciliation in the province after Wab Kinew was sworn in as Manitoba’s first First Nations premier.

New cabinet introduced

Kinew also introduced his new cabinet at the swearing-in ceremony Wednesday morning, which includes several returning MLAs as well as a few rookies.

Uzoma Asagwara, who is non-binary and made history as the first black queer MLA in the province when they were first elected in 2019, is the new health minister and deputy premier of Manitoba.

A person stands behind a podium next to a man wearing a headdress.

Uzoma Asagwara is Manitoba’s new deputy premier and minister of health, seniors and long-term care. (Prabhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

St. James MLA  Adrien Sala is the new minister of finance and Concordia MLA Matt Wiebe is the new justice minister. 

Sala’s portfolio also includes Manitoba Hydro and the province’s public service, while Wiebe will be the minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance in addition to his justice duties. 

Ron Kostyshyn is agriculture minister, a portfolio he held when he was previously in the legislature as part of Greg Selinger’s NDP government.

A woman stands on a stage next to a man standing behind a podium.

Bernadette Smith, who is Métis and First Nations, is the minister responsible for housing, addictions and homelessness and the minister responsible for mental health. (Prabhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

For the first time, Manitoba’s cabinet includes First Nations women: Nahanni Fontaine, who is the new families minister and will serve as minister responsible for gender equity and accessibility, and Bernadette Smith, the new minister of housing, addictions and homelessness.

A woman stands at a podium holding a pen.

Nahanni Fontaine is the minister for families, accessibility and gender equality. (Prabhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

Transcona MLA Nello Altomare is the new education minister, while Notre Dame MLA Malaya Marcelino is the new minister of labour and immigration. 

Keewatinook MLA Ian Bushie, named minister of municipal and northern relations, gave a shout-out to his home community of Hollow Water First Nation.

Bushie will also act as minister of Indigenous economic development, while Kinew named himself minister responsible for Indigenous reconciliation. 

A man wearing a suit and holding a feather stands in front of a crowd of people.

Ian Bushie has been named minister of municipal and northern relations and minister of Indigenous economic development. (Prabhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

Jamie Moses is minister of economic development, trade and natural resources, and Lisa Naylor is minister of transportation and infrastructure, as well as minister of consumer protection and government services.

Rookie MLAs Renee Cable, Tracy Schmidt and Glen Simard also earned spots in Kinew’s inner circle. 

Cable is minister of advanced education and training, Schmidt is minister of environment and climate change, and Simard is taking on sport, culture, heritage and tourism, as well as the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries file. 

See photos of Manitoba’s new NDP cabinet members: 

The new cabinet represents “many walks of life” and regions of the province, Kinew said. 

“I believe that this sends a message to every young person in Manitoba that no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, and no matter which barriers you have to overcome on your life’s path, that the road to success is open for you.”

Kinew also said with the members of his cabinet and caucus, members of Manitoba’s LGBTQ community will have many voices in government at a time of increasingly harmful rhetoric.

Once all the new MLAs are sworn in, there will be 10 Indigenous members of the Manitoba Legislature among the 34-member NDP caucus.

The Progressive Conservatives enter the new legislature with 22 MLAs, while Cindy Lamoureux will serve as the lone Liberal. She was named interim party leader on Tuesday.

Manitoba’s new premier, cabinet swearing-in ceremony

Featured VideoManitoba’s new premier Wab Kinew and his cabinet are sworn in at a ceremony at Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park.


Sarah Petz is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. She was previously based at CBC New Brunswick. Her career has taken her across three provinces and includes a stint in East Africa. She can be reached at Sarah.Petz@cbc.ca or @sarahrosepetz on Twitter.


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