'It's a new era': Manitoba premier, leaders react to Trudeau's federal cabinet

The appointment on Wednesday of Winnipeg MPs Jim Carr and MaryAnn Mihychuk to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet is being lauded by leaders in Manitoba, although the Manitoba Metis Federation is disappointed no Métis were selected.

Business, aboriginal leaders express optimism about appointments

The naming of MPs Jim Carr and MaryAnn Mihychuk to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet is being lauded by leaders in Manitoba.

Trudeau, who was sworn in Wednesday morning as Canada's 23rd prime minister, named Carr (Winnipeg South Centre) minister of natural resources and Mihychuk (Kildonan-St.Paul) minister of employment, workforce development and labour.

"It's a new era in the country. We're pleased that two Manitobans were elevated to cabinet. It gives us an opportunity to work with them on a whole range of issues," said Premier Greg Selinger.

"We know both of them. They've both got lots of experience, both in the legislature and in the community and serving Manitobans in a variety of roles, so we look forward to working with them."

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman also knows both Mihychuk and Carr and says he looks forward to working with them in their new roles.

"I've had the opportunity to speak with MaryAnn since election day about some of the infrastructure and public transit needs of the city and I'm looking forward to speaking with her in her new capacity. And Jim Carr is someone whom I had the pleasure of getting to know in his capacity leading the Business Council of Manitoba," Bowman said.

"It really is an opportunity for us to strengthen the relationship with our federal partners to address the priorities of Winnipeggers."

Those priorities, Bowman said, include improving infrastructure, transit and housing in the city.

Chuck Davidson, president and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, said the chamber has worked closely with Carr and knows him well, while Mihychuk helped establish the chamber in Snow Lake.

Tim Friesen, executive vice-president at the Mining Association of Manitoba, agreed that it's positive to see two Manitobans at the cabinet table.

"There's a lot of natural resource issues facing the country, so this is good news for Manitoba," he said, referring to Carr's portfolio.

Reaction mixed among First Nation, Métis leaders

Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, who was in Ottawa on Wednesday to congratulate Trudeau and his cabinet ministers, said he's hopeful the new government will help mend Canada's relationship with its Indigenous Peoples.

He also noted that two indigenous MPs were appointed to cabinet: Jody Wilson-Raybould of British Columbia is the new justice minister, while Hunter Tootoo of Nunavut has been appointed fisheries minister.

"Our First Nations communities across Turtle Island are in a crisis when it comes to education, housing, clean water, resource development, the list goes on," Nepinak said in a news release.

"I am optimistic that the new Liberal government will revitalize and repair the relationship First Nations had with the Harper government. I strongly believe that our Indigenous brothers and sisters that have been appointed to cabinet will bring the Indigenous voice to historically unrepresented portfolios and access points to government."

However, the Manitoba Métis Federation's reaction to the cabinet appointments was mixed.

"It was incredibly delightful to see the three young Métis jiggers escort Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet from Rideau Hall to the fiddling of the Red River Jig," Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand said in a statement.

"The jig recalls the Red River settlement, now Winnipeg — the birthplace of the Métis Nation and the heart of the Métis homeland."

Manitoba Métis also have a good working relationship with Ontario's Carolyn Bennett, who was named minister of indigenous and northern affairs, as she has considerable expertise in that portfolio, Chartrand stated.

However, the statement expressed disappointment that no Métis were named to cabinet.

Meanwhile, Manitoba Justice Murray Sinclair, who chaired the Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, has high hopes for Bennett as indigenous and northern affairs minister.

"She's somebody who comes to this with a good set of information and background about what the work of the TRC is all about," said Sinclair​.

"I know that she's been a strong advocate for the work of the commission, as we've been going. She was at the release of our summary report.

"I think overall it's a good day for reconciliation in Canada, because I think that this will be something that is high on her agenda."