Breaking: Malaya Marcelino is Manitoba’s Labour and Immigration Minister

She is one of the 8 people of colour in Premier Wab Kinew’s Cabinet

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

Malaya Marcelino was sworn in as Manitoba’s Labour and Immigration Minister and part of a very diverse cabinet of the province’s 1st First Nations Premier Wab Kinew Wednesday morning.

Marcelino was first elected in 2019 and had run in Notre Dame for a second term in the October 3 elections.

She is the daughter of former MLA Flor Marcelino and had immigrated from the Philippines as a child.

According to a report, eight out of the 15 members of Kinew’s inaugural cabinet on are people of colour. Seven are female or non-binary, five are Indigenous and two are LGBTQ.

Kinew made a deliberate effort to ensure his NDP government reflects the demographics of the 1.4 million people who live in Manitoba.

“The people of this province have come together to declare that we are one people, one Manitoba, who are going to build one future together,” Kinew said in an address inside The Leaf, a plant conservatory in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park, during a swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday morning.

The province now has a Jewish lieutenant-governor, an Anishinaabe premier, a [nearly] gender-balanced cabinet and a government MLA team that represents many walks of life from so many regions of this great province, he also said.

“I believe that this sends a message to every young person in Manitoba that no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, and no matter which barriers you have to overcome on your life’s path, that the road to success is open for you,” he said during his speech.

Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew poses with his Cabinet during a swearing in ceremony Wednesday morning. (Photo from Winnipeg Free Press)

The Kinew government’s first cabinet includes two First Nations women. Nahanni Fontaine, the new families minister, is Anishinaabe. Bernadette Smith, the minister responsible for housing, homelessness and addictions, is Anishinaabe and Métis.

Ian Bushie, the minister of municipal and northern relations, is the former chief of Hollow Water First Nation, an Anishinaabe community along Lake Winnipeg’s southeastern shore. Rookie MLA Renée Cable, the advanced education and training minister, is Métis.

Economic Development Minister Jamie Moses is Black while Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara’s parents immigrated from Nigeria.

Asagwara and Transportation Minister Lisa Naylor are also members of Winnipeg’s LGBTQ community.

Marcelino is a community leader, communications specialist and mother of two young sons.

Prior to being elected she worked as communications support to the president of a Manitoba-based agribusiness firm and is working on her master’s in Political Studies from the University of Manitoba.

In Canada’s provincial and territorial governments, the Executive Council is often referred to as the Cabinet.

The Premier is the President of the Executive Council and chooses Cabinet ministers usually from MLAs of the governing party.

The minister is responsible for setting the policy direction of their ministry or government department.

Part of Marcelino’s role may include introducing new legislation or proposing changes to existing laws in the legislature with respect to the ministry.

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