TRAHANT REPORTS – One of Canada’s most inspirational voices is running for office. Wab Kinew describes himself as “father, writer, journalist, university dude, Anishinaabemowin advocate, martial arts fan.” And add to that list: politician. He’s now a candidate for the Manitoba Legislature representing the New Democratic Party.
The NDP press release said Kinew “is a one-of-a-kind talent, named by the National Post as ‘an aboriginal leader seeking to engage with Canadians at large.’ He is the associate vice-president for indigenous relations at The University of Winnipeg and the author of the Number 1 national bestseller “The Reason You Walk: A Memoir.”
“I think that the best course of action for our economy is for our government to continue investing in creating good jobs — good jobs that pay good wages,” Kinew said in his announcement for the Winnipeg area seat. “The worst thing you could do right now is to begin cutting jobs, and I think that the second worst thing you could do right now is to begin cutting wages.”
This is big news for many reasons. First Kinew has star power that goes far beyond the Native community. He will be challenging the Liberal Party’s Leader (kind of like running against the other party’s candidate for governor) Rana Bokhar. So already the Canadian media is asking if this race mean Kinew will be on the NDP’s leadership team. Kinew responded to that question deftly, saying the party already has solid leadership.
Kinew has a huge social media following. He told his 45,000-plus Twitter followers on Tuesday: “I’ll need your help on this journey and would appreciate all of your support! Miigwech”
The provincial election is April 19.
Speaking of Canada, another win for a First Nation candidate. Melanie Mark, who is Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Cree, and Ojibway, swept into office with more than 60 percent of the vote and will represent the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant district.
According to The Georgia Straight newspaper, Mark focused her campaign on achieving a fairer deal for low-income people, highlighting the lack of affordable housing, the precarious job market, and rising tuition, medical-services, and B.C. Hydro fees.
“I don’t come from money or privilege, but I’m very fortunate. I achieved a degree in political science at SFU after attending several different schools, including Van Tech,” she wrote in The George Straight. “I’ve had a successful career as an advocate. From volunteering in organizations like Big Sisters and as president of the Urban Native Youth Association, to working with the Native Court Workers’ Association, Covenant House, the RCMP in Hazelton as a summer student, and as the national aboriginal project coordinator for Save the Children Canada’s–Sacred Lives Project, I built on these experiences to take on leadership roles in our community.”
Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. On Twitter @TrahantReports.