Wab Kinew holds first official meeting as Manitoba Premier
Posted October 19, 2023 2:54 pm.
Last Updated October 19, 2023 6:25 pm.
One day after being sworn in, Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew, and his new cabinet ministers sat down for their first official meeting Thursday morning, discussing important topics such as health care.
“One of the things that I want our team to do is to focus on getting things right, in this initial 30 days, 100-day period,” said Premier Kinew.
It was a historic ceremony on several fronts. Not only did Kinew become the first First Nations Premier in Canada, but Uzoma Asagwara became the first Black non-binary Deputy Premier in history, and both Bernadette Smith and Nahanni Fontaine are the first First Nations women to sit in cabinet.
“We’re going to focus on the task of standing up our new government and doing well for the people of Manitoba.”
Kinew spoke to his new cabinet ministers and reporters Thursday morning saying there is a lot of work ahead for himself and his team.
“Health care is our top priority, so Minister Asagwara, you have an awesome set of responsibilities before you, and as I share the mandate letters with yourself and with you as the other ministers around the table, I think you will see the priorities that we want you to focus on both in the bigger picture, next four years, but the immediate tasks,” said Kinew.
Those other priorities — the MPI strike, and making life more affordable for Manitobans. The cabinet consists of 14 ministers which is lower than the previous PC government, which political science professor Malcolm Bird says he was surprised to see.
“I was expecting to see a larger cabinet. A smaller cabinet, there must be a good reason for it, I don’t know what it is, but it does mean that those 14 cabinet ministers have a lot of work to do,” said Malcolm Bird, a political science professor at the University of Winnipeg.
Bird says in addition to the lack of experience and a smaller team with more work, it will be a challenge.
“I expect that the government will make extra efforts to provide training and will probably bring in former cabinet ministers to speak to them so they can better learn about their roles as cabinet ministers,” said Bird.
Kinew introduced one of the most diverse cabinets in Manitoba’s history. Robert Mizzi says it’s great to see 2SLGBTQ+ representation in the provincial government, calling Manitoba a very progressive and inclusive province.
“The rest of the country needs to also step up to what Manitoba has done, and learn from us, and work with us in a sense of diversifying the various MLAs across the country,” said Mizzi.