Flor Marcelino named interim leader of Manitoba NDP

Still recovering from their big election loss 2½ weeks ago, the Manitoba NDP has appointed a new interim leader in Flor Marcelino.

Party intends to hold premier, government to account as Official Opposition, Marcelino says

Flor Marcelino was officially appointed as the interim leader of the Manitoba NDP Saturday. (Manitoba NDP)

Still recovering from their big election loss 2½ weeks ago, the Manitoba NDP has appointed a new interim leader in Flor Marcelino.

"We are very proud to have Flor as our interim leader during this time of reflection and renewal within our party," party president Ovide Mercredi said in a release. "Her several years of experience as both an MLA and minister will make her a formidable Opposition leader, and her strong ties to diverse communities across Manitoba will prove invaluable for our party's positive, progressive agenda moving forward."

Last weekend, the New Democrats' caucus and party executive tapped Marcelino on the shoulder for the job, but the appointment still had to go to a vote before it was official. 

On Saturday afternoon at the Transcona Canad Inns, NDP provincial council voted in favour of making the Logan MLA, and former minister of multiculturalism, the party's temporary leader.

After being appointed, Marcelino said her party lost the election but its spirit hasn't been defeated.

Marcelino said she and her party intend to hold Premier Brian Pallister to account during question period as the Official Opposition.

"This is a party that will keep on fighting for what we believe is right, for our values, for our social justice goals for everyone.... Watch out how we rise up."
Flor Marcelino (right) was named interim leader of the Manitoba NDP Saturday. (Remi Authier/Radio-Canada)

Marcelino said she is eager to work with First Nations, newcomer communities and all of Manitoba.

"Our party today, as in the past, is a party of inclusivity. It is a party of diversity. It is a party of all of Manitobans," she said. "We will work [with] the newly elected government to serve the needs [of] all Manitobans, and fight to ensure the front line services families count on are protected."

NDP MP Niki Ashton said as a member of the NDP who is interested in the rebuilding process before the provincial party, she is confident Marcelino's history of bringing people together will help inject new life into the party.

"Today we made history by selecting a woman leader, a woman leader who of course is an immigrant to Canada" she said.

"When we're faced with the most right-wing government in Canada, which is what we have under Mr. Pallister, we're going to need a strong leader like Ms. Marcelino ... to be able to fight on behalf of Manitobans.

Prior to entering the political arena, Marcelino worked as the editor of The Philippine Times and as support staff at Red River College.

Greg Selinger announced he would resign his post as party leader April 19 after all the votes were tallied on election day.

He won his constituency of St. Boniface, but the party lost on the night to the Progressive Conservatives, who took a majority government.

Pallister and his cabinet of 12 minister were sworn in May 3.

With files from Radio-Canada's Rémi Authier