Manitoba premier has fun with tire-changing internet meme 

What started out as an act of kindness to help a family member during a time of need has now grown into a fun and light-hearted internet meme.

Earlier this month, Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew attended a funeral with family members in Little Saskatchewan First Nation, a community about 255 km northwest of Winnipeg beside Lake St. Martin.

On their way home, a family member’s vehicle blew out a tire just ahead of Kinew.

“I was just doing what any decent Manitoban would do. Helping out a (family) friend who caught a flat. We were coming back from a funeral, a friend of ours was up ahead of us and I guess she couldn’t get through to anyone else (for help) so she asked us for help,” said Kinew after Wednesday’s question period in the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg.

While the first First Nations premier in Canada changed the tire, a family member snapped a photo and shared it to social media to show appreciation for what he was doing.

One of the many memes that followed the photo of Kinew changing the tire. Photo: Facebook.

Numerous social media shares and comments followed with one person adding, “How many premiers of Canada would get out and change a flat tire in a suit yet? That really says something about this guy.”

On Facebook, motorist Tasha Spillett explained she was leaving the funeral with her mom and daughter after “quite an emotional couple of days” when the tire blew. She said she was grateful to have Kinew’s help and his wife there for support on the side of the road.

“They followed us back to the city to ensure we arrived safely… That’s the story behind the photo. Relatives taking care of each other,” Spillett added.

The photo has since turned into a fun and light-hearted meme, with pictures of Kinew picking berries, making an Indian taco, gutting a moose, milking a cow and even checking a dog for wood ticks.

“Well, I saw the bannock one, I saw the hockey one from Smudge The Blades – I like that one a lot, ” said Kinew with a smile, “artist Christi Belcourt’s (meme) was pretty cool – that’s an honour. I think the main thing is just having a chance to laugh at myself; it was pretty good.”

Kinew’s staff members also had a good laugh, joking the premier could change their tire next.

“People have such a great sense of humour,” added Kinew. “When we were first elected the band office memes were a sign of what was to come. And now, the fact that people are making memes, you know, it’s just good because it makes you stay humble, right?

“You’re never going to be accused of acting too good, if people are making memes and keeping you down to earth. It’s just funny to see people’s hilarious sense of humour.”

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