Point Douglas MLA Bernadette Smith says the new NDP government under premier-designate Wab Kinew will stick to its promise and search a local landfill for the remains of Indigenous women.
Smith, handily re-elected Tuesday night to another term, is a longtime advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women since her own sister’s disappearance in 2008. She told 680 CJOB’s The Start that a search will happen.
“Not even as a government, but just as human beings, we have to do something,” Smith said.
“The experts have said it can be done. There are going to be some risks (but) there are risks in every single job that people do.
“We need to listen to the experts, and we as a party have said we would do that, so we’re going to work with the experts and move forward with that and see how it can be done safely.”
The Prairie Green Landfill, north of Winnipeg, was a controversial topic during Manitoba’s election campaign.
The remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran — victims of alleged serial killer Jeremy Skibicki — are believed to have been dumped in the landfill last year, but outgoing Manitoba premier Heather Stefanson was steadfast in her refusal to search the site.
Demonstrators demand landfill searches for missing Indigenous women
Stefanson’s Progressive Conservatives campaigned on “Standing Firm” about the decision not to search the landfill, citing health and safety concerns.
That stance was criticized by Indigenous organizations, the federal government, groups like Amnesty International, and both of the PCs’ main election opponents, the NDP and Manitoba Liberals, who each called for action on the issue if elected.
The Manitoba NDP cruised to victory Tuesday night in a historic win for the province and the nation.
Smith said Kinew, who will be the first First Nations premier of a Canadian province, is changing the face of Canadian politics and giving Indigenous youth someone to look up to.
“The highest place in our province, in the Manitoba legislature … how proud these children are going to grow up, to see someone representative in that premier’s chair,” she said.
“To walk into that building and see that person’s picture on that wall, and to think that they can aspire to be that.”
Manitoba Election: Wab Kinew marks victory as first First Nations premier-designate
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.