A look at what the Manitoba election brings for Indigenous people

People in Manitoba are set to hit the polls next week for the 42nd provincial election.

The NDP, Liberals and Green parties are attempting to dethrone the governing Progressive Conservatives.

While many promises have been made from all four parties, what has seemingly been missing is what each party will do for Indigenous people in the province.

Brian Pallister says his government has spent the last three years working to repair relationships with First Nations.

During a press conference he cited the Tories work on the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels.

“We’re moving on flood protection projects and give people a chance to grow in their own communities,” he said.

“We’ve been working really hard on the duty to consult framework to make sure we’re involving communities and individuals [to] have the chance to be involved in dialogue from top to bottom when we make changes.”

But Pallister’s consultation process was heavily criticized at a First Nation town hall meeting on the flood project last month.

Pallister has also come under fire for axing several agreements with the Manitoba Metis Federation over Hydro projects.

Pallister committed to advocating for Indigenous women and girls.

“I spent a decade of my life standing up for Indigenous women’s rights in respect to matrimonial property,” he said referring to his work as an MP before becoming party leader.

If re-elected, the Conservatives say they will address the 231 calls for justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls through it’s Gender-Based Violence Committee of Cabinet, which was launched in December.

The NDP is headed by Wab Kinew.

He says his party is committed to creating a cabinet committee to act on the Inquiry’s findings.

“What I can tell you is it’s not going to be me overseeing the recommendations it’s going to be folks like Nahanni Fontaine, Bernadette Smith, Amanda Lathlin who have lived experience of what it’s like to be an Indigenous woman in Manitoba,” said Kinew at a party news conference.

Kinew is set to make history is his party wins.

He will be the first First Nations man to become premier of Manitoba.

But his campaign hasn’t been without controversy.

In 2017, a woman came forward with allegations of domestic assault against Kinew, which stemmed from 2003.

Kinew has denied the allegations.

Kinew has repeatedly turned down requests for an interview from APTN News to discuss the campaign and the allegations.

The Tories have made this the focus of attack ads over the past month.

Healthcare is the main plank in the NDP platform, especially for the north.

“That involves more clinics, health centres and specialists being located in the north. We’ll work with northern communities including northern First Nations to bring those services closer to home,” said Kinew.

Green Party leader James Beddome has also stated the importance of healthcare, especially when it comes to youth in remote northern communities.

God’s Lake First Nation recently called a state of emergency after four young people died by suicide over the summer.


Beddome said his party will take advantage of telehealth options but admits this isn’t always possible.

“It’s even a challenge in some of those communities because even the internet is not reliable so we’d certainly have to look at that. But there is going to be a need to have more psychologists up there,” he said.

The Liberals plan to open 24/7 safe spaces for women fleeing domestic violence.

Party leader Dougald Lamont said if his party forms government they will create a Manitoba police service with an Indigenous-lead unit.


He added addressing many of the MMIWG Inquiry’s recommendations starts with tackling poverty.

“We’re proposing a basic minimum income for all Manitobans that would basically end Employment and Income Assistance,” said Lamont.

“The goal is to get every Manitoban out of poverty within four years. First Nations are Manitobans as well so we would partner with the federal government to make sure that is working on reserve as well.”

Voters hits the polls on Sept. 10.

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