Incoming Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew says focus turns to fixing health care

History was made in Manitoba Tuesday night, as Wab Kinew became the first First Nations premier in Manitoba history, and with that historic win, the Manitoba NDP regain power for the first time since 2016. Alex Karpa reports.

By The Canadian Press

Incoming Manitoba premier Wab Kinew says the hard work begins now as his New Democrats work to fulfil their campaign promise to fix health care in the province.

BACKGROUND: Wab Kinew, Manitoba NDP win majority government

Kinew held his first news conference since his party swept the Progressive Conservatives from power on Tuesday night to form a majority government.

He said that work includes adding front-line health staff while building new emergency rooms and a cancer care facility.

“Fixing health care is probably one of the most daunting tasks that you could lay before a province at this time,” said Kinew.

“And yet, we have taken the time to listen to experts and lay out a credible path forward, and I believe that we will be able to execute on it.”

In addition to staffing up the health-care system, Kinew committed to addressing other campaign promises within his first 100 days in office, including suspending the provincial fuel tax until inflation subsides and creating a universal school nutrition program.

Kinew also suggested he is looking at having fewer cabinet ministers than the outgoing Tory government’s 18-member cabinet. Each minister will be provided with a mandate letter that Kinew said will be made public.

Looking back on the campaign, Kinew felt the Progressive Conservatives’ approach throughout took a toll on his family.

“They had to put up with the attack ads without the ability to respond and what I was able to tell them last night, is that the people of Manitoba chose to reject that,” he said.

The result led to the resignation of the other two main party leaders, including PC Premier Heather Stefanson.

Stefanson announced she would step down after leading the Tories for nearly two years.

As of Wednesday morning, Stefanson was narrowly holding onto her seat in the Winnipeg riding of Tuxedo.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont resigned after he lost his Winnipeg riding and his party was reduced to one seat from the previous three.

Kinew told reporters Wednesday that he’s pleased voters rejected the politics of division and embraced his party’s message of unity.

“It’s my intention to move the ball forward so that the future generation can do even more powerful things than we can imagine today,” said Kinew

“(Becoming premier) is the most difficult thing that I’ve ever done in my life, and the real work hasn’t even begun yet,” he added.

“I’m going to treat this job with the utmost of reverence and the humility that I believe will be necessary to serve you, the people of Manitoba, and of course I hope to make a positive contribution for all Canadians.”

—With files from Alex Karpa

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