Will Louis Riel’s Manitoba elect first Indigenous premier on October 3? YES!!

Sep 26th, 2023 | By | Category: In Brief
Michael Seward, 2023, ‘Anti-Portrait: from the Ashes. Acrylic on canvas. 24”sq.”’

CW EDITORS. UPDATE 1 AM ET, WED OCT 4, 2023. Some notes from several sources over the past few hours, with the TV still on full in the office boardroom :

10:30 PM ET. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2023. Wab Kinew’s NDP is ahead, but not by much! The current seat split is 30 NDP, 26 PC, 1 LIB, where 29 is a majority. So it is an almost surprisingly close election at this point. It may best fit the real Manitoba — and the 1867 confederation at large in 2023 — that Canada’s first First Nations premier of a province comes to office in such a guarded, hedged, restrained, and uncertain way.

10:55 — The seat allocation now is 33 NDP, 23 PC, 1 LIB. But half a dozen very close seats could switch from NDP to PC, giving a quite different general result : a bare PC majority!.

So neither CBC nor CTV have called the election, and it may still be a while longer yet before the final result can be confidently reported. Offhand, we’d guess the PCs have done better than the last polling suggested. The old order is not giving way to the new very easily, in the longitudinal geographic centre of Canada.

11:25 — Well it is apparently now official, as such things are judged in our time : “NDP wins majority government, CBC News projects” . The current numbers are : NDP is elected or leading in 33 seats with 44.6% of the province-wide popular vote. PCs similarly have 23 seats with 41.9% of the vote. And the Liberals have only 1 seat with 11.7% of the vote (where the same percentage in the 57-seat legislature under “PR” would be 6 or 7 seats).

Louis Riel (centre) and members of his Provisional Government of what is now Manitoba, 1870.

11:45 — The current numbers have now shifted to : NDP is elected or leading in 31 seats with 44.8% of the province-wide popular vote. PCs similarly have 25 seats with 41.8% of the vote. And the Liberals have only 1 seat with 11.5% of the vote

Wab Kinew’s appeal to Liberal voters — prominent eg in his concluding message in the recent TV debate — does seem to have worked well enough. On the other hand, “Dougald Lamont concedes to NDP in St. Boniface, steps down as Manitoba Liberal leader.” And as further evidence that Wab Kinew’s New Democratic Party has won, “Health Minister Audrey Gordon among 3 Winnipeg PC cabinet ministers to lose seats.”

12:25 AM ET. OCT 4, 2023 : The numbers have shifted again slightly. Now NDP 32 seats with 45.0% of the vote ; PCs 24 seats with 41.9% ; LIB 1 seat with 11.2%. As such things our judged in our Canadian parliamentary democracy today Wab Kinews New Democrats Have, as the CBC urges, won at least a solid victory. (And at 1:15 PM on Oct 4 it’s NDP 34 seats, 45.3% of the vote, PCs 22 seats 42.0%, and LIB 1 seat with 10.8%!)

We are finally pleased. Louis Riel’s democratic and multicultural Canadian progressive tradition has triumphed over the still quite vigorous British North American conservatism, by a margin of 45% to 42% — where 45% is enough in our current system to win a majority of seats in the provincial parliament (albeit a 45% also largely supported by many of the 11% who voted Liberal?). Our congratulations to Premier-elect Kinew. Along with a warning. If history is any guide he should watch his back. A PM Pierre Poilievre might want to charge him with treason!

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COUNTERWEIGHTS EDITORS, GANATSEKWYAGON, ON. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2023. One week from today the Canadian province of Manitoba (“marking the longitude centre of Canada”geographically) will hold what could prove a historic provincial election.

On one channel the election will be a test of provincial New Democratic parties in Western Canada — like the Alberta election this past May 29.

For a while it seemed that the Alberta NDP would defeat the governing United Conservative Party. But the closer the election came the less likely this progressive prospect appeared. In the end Danielle Smith’s UCP won 49 seats with 53% of the popular vote, compared to 38 seats with 44% of the vote for Rachel Notley’s New Democrats.

From late this past Spring opinion polls suggested something similar might finally let the currently governing Manitoba Progressive Conservatives (under the new leadership of Heather Stefanson) hang on to office in Winnipeg. Most recently, however, the New Democrats have been showing fresh strength.

No one should rest easy about the Manitoba election now only a week away.

“From left to right, Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba Leader Heather Stefanson, Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew, and Manitoba Liberal Party Leader Dougald Lamont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, John Woods, David Lipnowski.”

Three days ago, CBC News posted an article headlined “Manitoba’s election is now the NDP’s to lose … Pair of polls paint a rosy picture for New Democrats, but 10 remaining days are an eternity in campaign time.”

The most recent poll on the Wikipedia site “2023 Manitoba general election” actually shows the PCs slightly ahead. Three of the last four Manitoba election polls — all taken in September — have the New Democrats ahead. But again, the latest poll does put Ms. Stefanson’s party at 42.5% of the popular vote, against the New Democrats’ 39.4%. No one should rest easy about the Manitoba election now only a week away.

“Sign on the Trans-Canada Highway near Winnipeg, marking the longitude centre of Canada.” Photo by Wtshymanski, February 11, 2018 : –18 C and windy.

Meanwhile, if Tuesday, October 3 does end with the New Democrats taking office in Winnipeg, that will mean something more than two NDP provincial governments in Western Canada (and Canada at large for the moment as well) — in Manitoba and BC. (On some views, the two thorns between which the conservative roses in Alberta and Saskatchewan thrive — or at least subsist!)

As The Canadian Press noted three days ago, in its piece on the imminent Manitoba election, “Manitoba could make history by electing first First Nations premier to lead province.” The PC leader may be a woman, that is to say, in these turbulent times with what seems one increasingly conservative edge. But the leader of the social democratic NDP, Wab Kinew, is an Indigenous Canadian — of the class the rest of the country is supposed to be reconciling with as we speak!

Will a “First Nations premier … head a province for the first time in Canadian history”?

“Moody Manitoba Morning 6 by IgorsMama. Published: Sep 3, 2023.”

To quote Wikipedia for convenience, “Wabanakwut ‘Wab’ Kinew” was born on the last day of 1981 in Kenora, Ontario : “Originally from the Onigaming First Nation in Northwestern Ontario, he is the son of Tobasonakwut Kinew, a former local and regional chief and a professor of Indigenous governance at the University of Winnipeg … Kinew moved to suburban Winnipeg with his parents in childhood and attended Collège Béliveau, a French immersion school, and vacationed in Onigaming in the summers. He graduated from the University of Winnipeg Collegiate … went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Manitoba, later pursuing a master’s degree in Indigenous governance … Before entering politics, he was a musician, broadcaster and university administrator, best known as a host of programming on CBC Radio and CBC Television.”

(Before racing to the conclusion here we should also note the Liberal Party of Manitoba, currently led by Dougald Lamont. It won three seats with not quite 15% of the popular vote in the last election. It is one thing that could derail the Wab Kinew New Democrat train. He seems to be almost literally begging for Liberal votes in the greater progressive cause at this juncture. And with good reason. The strategy suggests he could actually make a quite successful premier!)

. “Created by Winnipeg artist Miguel Joyal, the statue of Louis Riel was unveiled on the south grounds of the Manitoba Legislative Building in May 1996.”

If the people of Manitoba do decide to vote for Mr. Kinew next Tuesday, they will have also determined that, as The Canadian Press has further explained : “A First Nations premier” will “head a province for the first time in Canadian history.” And, in a province that has more history than it sometimes lets itself remember, this people of Manitoba will descend spiritually from the Louis Riel, who on today’s legend founded the modern province with his Red River Rebellion and Provisional Government of Manitoba in 1869–70.

John A. Macdonald and the Conservatives of another era saw to it that Louis Riel was hanged for treason after his Northwest Rebellion and Provisional Government of Saskatchewan in 1885. Today, however, his statue adorns the grounds of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.

Will the people of Manitoba who descend (spiritually) from Louis Riel win on October 3??

The people of Manitoba today who descend spiritually from Louis Riel and will vote for Wab Kinew’s New Democrats on October 3, 2023 are a kind of post John A. Macdonald Canada creation of the later 20th and 21st centuries.

As one among us here has noted in another context : “In the Canadian Encyclopedia today Louis Riel is characterized as ‘Métis leader, founder of Manitoba.’ An opera called Louis Riel was written by the Toronto composer Harry Somers for the 1967 centennial of the 1867 confederation. Successive statues of Louis Riel appeared on the grounds of the Manitoba legislature in 1971 and 1996. The historian J.M. Bumstead published Louis Riel v. Canada: The Making of a Rebel in 2001. The cartoonist Chester Brown’s Louis Riel : a comic-strip biography was “published as a book in 2003 after serialization in 1999–2003.”

Wab Kinew and his family 2023.

It will be a great shame, we think, if the people of Manitoba who vote in the 2023 election this coming Tuesday, October 3 don’t make Wab Kinew “A First Nations premier” who will “head a province for the first time in Canadian history.”

Or as Wab Kinew himself has explained, “My dad was not allowed to vote when he was a young man, and I have a shot at potentially leading the province … That’s a big change that speaks to progress in our country and in our province within one generation.” Best of luck to the Manitoba New Democrats on October 3!

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