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Manitoba’s Historic 2023 Cabinet

Press Release

Kinew is the first Premier to hold the title of Minister of Indigenous Reconciliation; Asagwara becomes the first Black and non-binary person to serve as Deputy Premier; Smith and Fontaine are the first First Nations women appointed to Cabinet in Manitoba.

TREATY 1 AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, HOMELAND OF THE RED RIVER MÉTIS, WINNIPEG—Today, Wab Kinew was sworn in as Premier of Manitoba and announced a Cabinet that reflects both the diversity and depth of experience in his caucus.

Former justice, Murray Sinclair welcomed guests at the swearing-in ceremony, which took place in front of a packed invite-only crowd at The Leaf Conservatory in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park and featured the lighting of the Qulliq, and performances from the Norman Chief Memorial Dancers and the Dakota Hotain Singers.

Premier Kinew will begin his mandate with a Cabinet of 14 Ministers, down from former Premier Stephenson’s outgoing cabinet of 18.

The Premier and his team recruited and elected a diverse slate of candidates – and the new Cabinet reflects that, with gender-balanced and historic appointments that represent the many cultures, perspectives, and lived experiences of Manitobans. While most Ministers come from Winnipeg seats, the Premier has ensured both Northern and rural Manitoba will also have voices at the decision-making table.

Key Ministers

The Premier himself took on the role of Minister of Indigenous Reconciliation in addition to the role of Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and International Relations. He appointed several longtime MLAs to roles they held as critics in Opposition. This includes Health and Finance Ministers Uzoma Asagwara and Adrien Sala, two trusted team members who also led the NDP’s platform development for the 2023 campaign.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister,Uzoma Asagwara

Asagwara’s experience as a former psychiatric nurse, as well as their calm and collected approach throughout the pandemic, has led them to be one of the most influential and popular voices in the NDP. Healthcare will be the new government’s top priority, and Asagwara will waste no time tackling the many crises that the health system faces. They are Manitoba’s first non-binary Cabinet Minister, and one of only a few Black Cabinet Ministers in provincial history.

Finance Minister, Adrien Sala

Sala is a former political staffer for the NDP and worked in the financial sector before he was first elected in 2019. Sala is known for being an excellent and disciplined communicator and was one of the NDP’s most prominent MLAs in Opposition. He is well-placed to begin preparations for the NDP’s spring Budget, and to keep the government on track for their commitments to lower costs for Manitobans while balancing the budget over the next four years.

Families Minister, Nahanni Fontaine

Fontaine is from the Sagkeeng Anishnaabe First Nation and will be one of Manitoba’s first two First Nations women in Cabinet. Fontaine is a well-known champion for human rights and anti-poverty work across Canada and advocates for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirited People. She has long been a trusted ally to Premier Kinew, and it is no surprise that she will take on the difficult work of the Families file.

Experienced Voices

During the election, Kinew announced that former Premier Gary Doer would return to advise the new government on Canada-US trade. In addition to relying on Doer’s experience, the new Premier has also appointed Ministers with experience in previous NDP governments:

  • Ron Kostyshyn, a former family farmer and local Reeve, returns to the role of Minister of Agriculture, a cabinet role he held from 2012-2016. He was elected MLA in the rural riding of Dauphin.
  • Matt Wiebe has served as the MLA for Concordia since 2010 (after Gary Doer retired the seat) and, although he is not a lawyer, joins Cabinet for the first time as Minister of Justice. While Weibe did not serve in cabinet prior, he sat as a government MLA during the NDP Selinger government of 2011-2016.

New Faces

The bulk of Premier Kinew’s Cabinet is made up of experienced MLAs on their second or third term, giving newly elected MLAs time to acclimate to their roles. Notable exceptions to this overall approach include:

  • Renée Cable, Minister of Advanced Education and Training, a former NDP staffer and communications consultant who defeated former PC Health Minister Audrey Gordon in south Winnipeg,
  • Tracy Schmidt, Minister of Environment, a former lawyer who won back the traditionally held NDP seat of Rossmere in northeast Winnipeg.
  • Bernadette Smith, Minister of Housing, Addictions and Homelessness, one of the two First Nations women in cabinet for the first time.
  • Glen Simard, Minister of Culture and Minister Responsible for the Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, a former teacher who holds one of the NDP’s few rural seats in Brandon East.

For a full list of Cabinet Ministers, please see below.

What’s next?

  • The Premier will be releasing mandate letters for each Minister.
  • The House will return this fall for a short session, with a tentative start date of November 21 that will be confirmed following discussions between the NDP and PC House Leaders.
  • The NDP plan to introduce legislation to fulfill a significant election commitment to cut the provincial gas tax.
  • Premier Kinew announced at the Manitoba Metis Federation’s Annual General Assembly last weekend that the fall session will include legislation to recognize Metis leader and provincial founder Louis Riel as the province’s first Premier.

The complete list of cabinet ministers is as follows:

Wab Kinew (MLA for Fort Rouge) – premier, minister of intergovernmental affairs and international relations, minister responsible for Indigenous reconciliation;

Uzoma Asagwara (MLA for Union Station) – deputy premier, minister of health, seniors and long-term care;

Ron Kostyshyn (MLA for Dauphin) – minister of agriculture;

Matt Wiebe (MLA for Concordia) – minister of justice and attorney general, keeper of the great seal of the province of Manitoba, minister responsible for the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation;

Nahanni Fontaine (MLA for St. Johns) – minister of families, minister responsible for accessibility, minister responsible for gender equity;

Bernadette Smith (MLA for Point Douglas) – minister of housing, addictions and homelessness, and minister responsible for mental health;

Nello Altomare (MLA for Transcona) – minister of education and early childhood learning;

Ian Bushie (MLA for Keewatinook) – minister of municipal and northern relations, and minister of Indigenous economic development;

Malaya Marcelino (MLA for Notre Dame) – minister of labour and immigration, and minister responsible for the Workers Compensation Board;

Jamie Moses (MLA for St. Vital) – minister of economic development, investment, trade and natural resources;

Lisa Naylor (MLA for Wolseley) – minister of transportation and infrastructure, minister of consumer protection and government services;

Adrien Sala (MLA for St. James) – minister of finance, minister responsible for the Public Utilities Board, minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro, minister responsible for the Manitoba public service;

Renée Cable (MLA for Southdale) – minister of advanced education and training;

Tracy Schmidt (MLA for Rossmere) – minister of environment and climate change, minister responsible for Efficiency Manitoba; and

Glen Simard (MLA for Brandon East) – minister of sport, culture, heritage and tourism, minister responsible for francophone affairs, minister responsible for the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation.

Full biographies of the new cabinet members will be posted online at: https://www.manitoba.ca/minister.

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Brad Lavigne

Partner and Western Practice Lead
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Gord Mackintosh

Principal, Manitoba
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Logan Ross

Vice President, Manitoba
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Leezann Freed-Lobchuk

Account Director, Manitoba
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Jean-Marc Prevost 

Vice President, Western Canada
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Deron Bilous

Senior Vice President, Western Canada
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