Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba NDP
Before getting involved in politics, Wab Kinew worked as a journalist, artist, musician, producer and university administrator.
Kinew was born in Onigaming First Nation in northwestern Ontario, but moved to Winnipeg as a child. He attended the University of Winnipeg, where he received a bachelor of arts in economics and a master’s degree in Indigenous governance. He later received an honorary doctorate from Cape Breton University.
He worked as an on-air host and reporter with the CBC and as a correspondent for Al Jazeera English.
His 2009 live album of hip-hop music “Live By the Drum” won an Aboriginal People’s Choice Award.
In 2011, Kinew was named the U of W’s first director of Indigenous inclusion. He later served as associate vice-president for Indigenous relations with the university from 2014 to 2016.
Kinew published his first book “The Reason You Walk” in 2015, which chronicles his relationship with his father, a former Grand Chief and survivor of the residential school system. He also published a children’s book in 2018 called “Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes.”
He was first elected MLA for Fort Rouge in 2016, and became leader of the Manitoba NDP in 2017.
In his bid for premier, Kinew has pledged to reopen emergency rooms and make significant investments in infrastructure, while maintaining the Conservatives’ current timeline to balance the budget.
The NDP platform calls for annual increased to health-care spending through to 2024, money that would help reopen ERs at Concordia and Seven Oaks Hospitals, add acute care beds, and facilitate the training and hiring of nurses and nurse practitioners.
Kinew has also pledged investments in infrastructure that would translate into increased revenue for the province.
He said he will increase contributions from the top one per cent of earners in the province — those who earn more than $250,000 each year.
Kinew would also spend an additional $69.4 million in 2020/2021 to pay for its promises. The NDP said it would find savings of $72.3 million in that same year to help reduce the deficit.
Kinew is married to Dr. Lisa Monkman Kinew and has three sons.
-With files from Josh Crabb