The new Premier and cabinet were sworn into office on October 18, 2023–15 days after the governing Progressive Conservatives, led by Heather Stefanson, were voted out of office. Wab Kinew becomes the 25th Premier of Manitoba.
Today’s ceremony began with the lighting of a qulliq, a traditional Inuit flame, followed by an opening prayer by Red Sucker Lake First Nation Chief Sam Knott. The oaths of office were presided over by Supreme Court Justice Murray Sinclair and Lieutenant Governor Anita Neville.
Premier Kinew has appointed a diverse cabinet of 14 individuals, including six women, one non-binary person, five people of Indigenous heritage (including the first First Nations women to serve in a Manitoba government) and three people of colour.
Premier Kinew’s speech during the swearing-in ceremony focused largely on health care, with additional attention given to affordability, the need for resource development, and job creation. The NDP made several significant health care commitments during the election campaign, including the construction of three new emergency rooms. He noted that the importance of the file is represented by appointing new Minister of Health Uzoma Asagwara as Deputy Premier. Asagwara is one of Premier Kinew’s closest advisors, along with Finance Minister Adrian Sala and Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine.
There is only one Minister in the new Cabinet who has previously served in an NDP Cabinet. Minister of Agriculture Ron Kostychyn had the same portfolio under Premier Greg Selinger.
What Comes Next
The new government will move quickly on key campaign promises such as recruiting health care workers and tackling the issue of affordability, most notably with a commitment to cut the provincial gas tax and freeze hydro rates. While the NDP made significant spending commitments during the election campaign, the government is beginning its term in strong shape financially, ending the 2022-23 year with a $270 million surplus.
Logistically, the NDP will face the challenge of staffing a new Government. The majority of staff from the NDP opposition will move into new positions, but with communications, issues management, policy, and ministerial office jobs to fill, they will have to look outside the current complement of employees. The new administration will look to other provincial NDP sections, labour, and municipal offices to fill the many new roles.
On October 3rd, the NDP won a majority government, securing 34 of 57 electoral divisions, pushing the Progressive Conservatives into the role of Opposition with 22 seats. The Liberal Party was reduced to one seat. Both Premier Stefanson and Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont have resigned as leaders of their respective parties.
The majority of the NDP seats were won in Winnipeg, with the notable exceptions of Dauphin, Brandon East and the ridings of The Pas-Kameesak, Thompson, Flin Flon and Keewatinook. Premier Kinew made a direct appeal to rural Manitoba voters on election night to “…Give the NDP a chance.”
Transition Team and Senior Staff
Mark Rosner will serve as Chief of Staff. Mark has served as Chief of Staff in opposition since 2019. Emily Coutts will serve as Principal Secretary, and Rebecca Widdicombe will become Deputy Chief of Staff. Rosner will co-chair the transition team along with Campaign Director Brian Topp.
The transition has been named as:
- Joy Cramer, Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization.
- Ash Modha, Chief Executive Officer of Mondetta Clothing.
- Brandon Burley, outgoing Mayor of Morden. Burley announced his sudden resignation on Thursday.
- Eric Jacobsohn, former Medical Director of Research at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. Jacobsohn also works as an Intensive Care Unit Physician and Cardiac Anesthesiologist.
- Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour.
- Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.
- Carmen Nedohin, President of the Winnipeg chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons. Nedohin is also the former chairperson of the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission and a former Manitoba Hydro board member.
- Mike Spence, Mayor of Churchill.
- Tanya Paulson, Executive Director of Manitoba Building Trades.
- Jennefer Nepinak, Vice-President, Strategic Partnerships and Reconciliation, for Legacy Bowes and former Associate Vice-President for Indigenous Engagement at the University of Winnipeg.
- Shahina Siddiqui, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Islamic Social Services Association.
Wab Kinew (MLA for Fort Rouge)
Premier – Minister of Intergovernmental and International Affairs – Minister Responsible for Indigenous Reconciliation
Wab Kinew becomes the 25th Premier of Manitoba and Canada’s first provincial First Nations Premier. Premier Kinew is an honourary witness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is also a bestselling author and former journalist. Prior to politics, he worked as an administrator at the University of Winnipeg. He is a dad to three boys and a husband to his wife, Lisa, who is a doctor.
Uzoma Asagwara (MLA for Union Station)
Minister of Health, Seniors and Long-term Care – Deputy Premier
When Uzoma was first elected in 2019, they became the first non-binary MLA in the Manitoba Legislature and one of the first Black MLAs elected in Manitoba’s history. Before their election, Uzoma was a Psychiatric Nurse and Addictions Specialist. They are a former basketball player with the University of Winnipeg and the Canadian National Basketball team. They served as the NDP Health critic in opposition.
Adrien Sala (MLA for St. James)
Minister of Finance – Minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro – Minister responsible for the Manitoba Public Service
As the MLA for St. James since 2019, Adrien served as the NDP Critic for Finance and Manitoba Hydro. Before becoming an MLA, he worked in the financial sector, with social and affordable housing, as well as with community-based programs focused on preventing crime and supporting marginalized youth. Adrien also served as a Ministerial Assistant in the last Manitoba NDP Government. He lives in St. James with his wife and children.
Jamie Moses (MLA for St. Vital)
Minister of Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources
Jamie was elected as the MLA for St. Vital in 2019. He has served as the NDP’s Critic for Advanced Education and Training. He has been an advocate for safer sports and communities and is passionate about helping young people reach their full potential. As an active community member in St. Vital, Jamie listens to residents, advocates on their behalf, and works hard to make the St. Vital neighbourhood a better place.
Tracy Schmidt (MLA for Rossmere)
Minister of Environment and Climate Change – Minister Responsible for Efficiency Manitoba
Tracy is a life-long resident of Fraser’s Grove where she lives with her husband and their three children. She is a lawyer with a background in labour and employment law.
Nello Altomare (MLA for Transcona)
Minister of Education and Early Childhood Learning
Born, raised and living in Transcona, Nello Altomare is the son of Italian immigrants who came to Canada seeking a better life. He is a retired teacher and principal within the River East Transcona School Division. He was elected as MLA for Transcona since 2019 and the NDP’s Critic for Education and Early Childhood Learning. In 2023, he passed legislation requiring the Education Minister to report on nutrition programs in schools.
Ian Bushie (MLA for Keewatinook)
Minister of Municipal and Northern Affairs – Minister of Indigenous Economic Development
Ian Bushie is a member and former Chief of Hollow Water First Nation. He has represented Keewatinook in the Manitoba Legislature since 2019 and has served as the NDP’s Critic for Transportation and Infrastructure as well as the Deputy House Leader. In 2021 and 2022, Ian introduced legislation to mark Orange Shirt Day as a statutory holiday in Manitoba. He has also owned a small business in his home community for over 20 years. Ian is the proud father of six children and looks to them as inspiration for his work in improving the lives of northern Manitobans.
Renée Cable (MLA for Southdale)
Minister of Advanced Education and Training
Renée lives in Windsor Park with her husband and two children. She is a proud Métis mom who is passionate about building stronger, healthier communities for all of us. Renée’s background is in management, HR, advocacy and public policy and she has served on childcare, community centre, and non-profit boards. Renée has worked in the Manitoba Legislature in various leadership and support roles, and she will use that experience to advocate for what matters most to folks in the Southdale neighbourhood.
Malaya Marcelino (MLA for Notre Dame)
Minister of Labour and Immigration – Minister Responsible for the Workers Compensation Board
Malaya immigrated from the Philippines as a child with her family. She was first elected to represent Notre Dame in 2019. As the NDP’s Critic for Labour and Immigration, Malaya focused on creating good jobs for newcomers with better quality labour conditions. She is a fierce advocate for better health care and safer communities for inner-city families. Malaya and her husband live in Winnipeg’s West End with their two young children.
Nahanni Fontaine (MLA for St. Johns)
Minister of Families – Minister Responsible for Accessibility – Minister Responsible for Gender Equity
Nahanni, a member of the Sagkeeng Anishnaabe First Nation, holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and International Development from the U of W, as well as a M.A. in Native Studies, Women’s Studies, and Critical Theory from the U of M. She is globally recognized for her expertise in Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit Individuals (MMIWG2S), Indigenous-police relations, and gender equity. Nahanni has proudly represented St. Johns since 2016 and is only the second woman to hold the position of Official Opposition House Leader. She is also served as the NDP’s Critic for Families, as well as spokesperson for MMIWG2S and Veterans Affairs. She is a dedicated mother to her two sons, Jonah and Niniichaanis.
Bernadette Smith (MLA for Point Douglas)
Minister of Housing, Addictions and Homelessness – Minister Responsible for Mental Health
Bernadette Smith was born and raised in the North End and understands the challenges of the families in her community because she’s lived them. She is a proud Indigenous mother and grandmother. Bernadette is the Co-Founder of the Drag the Red Initiative and has been recognized for her work as an advocate fighting for justice for MMIWG2S families. She was first elected to represent Point Douglas in 2017 and has served as NDP’s critic for Mental Health and Community Wellness, as well as their Caucus Chair. As an MLA, Bernadette has passed legislation to ban poverty as grounds for the apprehension of children, create license plates for MMIWG2S awareness, create a Drug-Related Death Bereavement Day, and create a Spirit Bear Day to raise awareness about Jordan’s Principle.
Lisa Naylor (MLA for Wolseley)
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure – Minister of Consumer Protection and Government Services
Lisa has lived with her family in Wolseley for over 20 years. As the MLA for Wolseley, Lisa has served as the NDP’s Critic for Environment and Climate Change, Critic for Municipal Relations, NDP spokesperson on 2SLGBTQ+ issues, and Deputy Caucus Chair. She is a former Winnipeg School Division Trustee and a former Counsellor at the Women’s Health Clinic.
Glen Simard (MLA for Brandon East)
Minister of Sport, Culture, Heritage and Tourism – Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs – Minister responsible for Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation
Glen lives in Brandon East with his wife, Lori, and their two sons. He was a teacher at École Harrison and actively involved in Brandon as a community leader, coach, team builder, activist, and volunteer.
Matt Wiebe (MLA for Concordia)
Minister of Justice – Attorney General – Minister Responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance
Matt was born and raised in northeast Winnipeg, and lives in Concordia with his wife and their two children. He was first elected as MLA for Concordia in 2010 and is one of a handful of current NDP elected officials who served in the last Manitoba NDP administration. He has served as the NDP’s Official Opposition Whip and the Critic for Justice and MPI.
Ron Kostyshyn (MLA for Dauphin)
Minister of Agriculture
Ron and his wife, Judy, raised two daughters and ran a family mixed farming operation for 40 years in rural Manitoba. Ron has been a community leader in the Parkland for years, serving as the MLA for Swan River and Minister of Agriculture in the last Manitoba NDP Government, Reeve for Mossey River Municipality, and AMM Parkland Director.
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