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Manitobans elect NDP majority government

Manitobans elect NDP majority government

Wab Kinew’s party captured 34 seats on election night

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Manitobans voted for change on Oct. 3 and elected an NDP majority government.

Premier-designate Wab Kinew’s party captured 34 seats to secure the majority victory Elections Manitoba data says. That’s five more than the 29 seats needed for a majority.

“Look what little old Manitoba did tonight,” he said in his victory speech.

With his victory, Kinew also becomes the first First Nations premier in Canada.

Kinew and the NDP campaigned on improving healthcare, with a focus on rural communities.

And committed to creating a jobs council to bring leaders in from multiple industries, including agriculture.

Knew addressed rural Manitobans directly during his victory speech.

“To people in rural Manitoba, to people in northern Manitoba, I want to say thank you for sending people from your communities to sit with our team at the Manitoba legislature,” he said. “And to people in rural Manitoba who haven’t voted for us yet, I would ask you to keep an open mind. And if our team delivers, if after a few years we have improved your healthcare, and we have made your life a bit more affordable, I would humbly ask in four years’ time, you send more people from your communities to sit with our team in the Manitoba legislature.”

After seven years in power, the Progressive Conservatives (PC) will form the official opposition.

But the party and its 22 MLAs will do so with a new leader.

“It is with a heavy heart tonight that I am announcing that I will be stepping down as the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba,” Heather Stefanson said in her concession speech.

She retained her seat and will represent the riding of Tuxedo in the legislature.

Multiple PC cabinet ministers lost their seats on Tuesday.

This includes Families Minister Rochelle Squires, Health Minister Audrey Gordon, Labour Minister Jon Reyes, Seniors Minister Scott Johnston, Mental Health Minister Janice Morley-Lecomte, Consumer Protection Services Minister James Teitsma, and Environment Minister Kevin Klein.

Former minister of agriculture Derek Johnson retained his seat in Interlake-Gimli.

The Manitoba Liberals are also looking for a new leader.

After losing two of its three seats on election night, including leader Dougald Lamont’s seat in St. Boniface, Lamont stepped down as leader of the party.

Cindy Lamoureux will be the party’s only representative in the legislature.

One of Premier-designate Kinew’s next step will be to assemble his cabinet.

In terms of who may handle the ag file, at least two MLAs could be frontrunners.

Diljeet Brar from Burrows served as the NDP ag critic prior to the election.

And Ron Kostyshyn from Dauphin is a former provincial ag minister. He served in that role from 2012 to 2016 under Premier Greg Selinger.

Election reaction from the province’s ag community has started to funnel in.

Keystone Agricultural Producers congratulated the NDP and reminded the incoming government of the industry’s priorities during the campaign.

“This election, our priorities were clear: Remove the Education Property Tax on Farmland, Pass Right-to-Repair Laws for Farm Machinery, Improve Manitoba’s Infrastructure Network, Address Labour Shortages, and Better Healthcare and Safety in Rural Areas,” KAP General Manager Brenna Mahoney said in a statement. “We look forward to engaging with Premier-elect Kinew and his entire team in the coming weeks to continue our discussions on these and other key issues affecting Manitoba producers,”

“We welcome Premier-designate Kinew to his post, and I look forward to working with him and his entire team to continue to grow Manitoba’s economy,” said Rick Préjet, chair of Manitoba Pork, said in a statement. “Hog farmers across the province, and the over 22,000 Manitobans who work in the sector, will continue to build on the collaborative working relationship that’s been developed with the NDP over the past few years. Manitoba’s hog sector contributes $2.3 billion to the provincial GDP each year, and we are encouraged that the conditions for growth in the sector will continue unabated.”

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