Manitoba

Meet the rookies: Manitobans elect 13 first-time MLAs

The results are in and Manitobans in several ridings will now spend the next few years looking to a crop of rookies voted in as members of the legislature Tuesday night.

Fresh crop of provincial politicians includes 1st black queer MLA, daughter of former NDP interim leader

Premier Brian Pallister congratulates Audrey Gordon on her election win in Southdale. Gordon is one of two rookie PC MLAs elected Tuesday. (James Turner/CBC)

The results are in and Manitobans in several ridings will now spend the next few years looking to a crop of rookies voted in as members of the legislative assembly Tuesday night.

A total of 11 new NDP MLAs, and two new Tories were elected, as Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservatives were returned to power.

Here are a few of the fresh faces representing Manitobans from across the province.

Union Station: Uzoma Asagwara (NDP)

Uzoma Asagwara is the new NDP MLA for Union Station. (Ahmar Khan/CBC)

Uzoma Asagwara is the new MLA for a new Winnipeg riding: Union Station.

Union Station was born out of the riding previously known as Logan, renamed when the boundaries were redrawn and the riding no longer included Logan Avenue. Former NDP MLA for Logan Flor Marcelino did not run during this election.

Asagwara works as a psychiatric nurse and is a member of the board for Women's Health Clinic. 

Asagwara's expertise in the mental health field extends to helping those experiencing addictions and poverty, according to a candidate profile on the NDP website.

Asagwara has a history as an athlete, playing basketball for the University of Winnipeg and Canada's national women's team as well as mentoring young athletes in downtown Winnipeg.

Asagwara joins New Democrat Jamie Moses (St. Vital) and Progressive Conservative Audrey Gordon in being the first black MLAs to be elected in Manitoba. The newly minted member of the legislative assembly also becomes the first black queer MLA in the province, building on previous community work with Queer People of Colour Winnipeg.

"Our elected officials in our Manitoba Legislature should absolutely reflect the constituencies … and communities that are in Manitoba," Asagwara said.

"So making sure that our elected officials look like the communities we serve [is] fundamental in making sure that all voices and all communities are served well in Manitoba."

Asagwara founded the advocacy group QPOC in 2014, which works to create safer spaces and improve the representation of queer, transgender, black and Indigenous people of colour.

"I believe I have a responsibility to be a positive role model for folks who may not ever think that they can be black ... and queer, and achieve the things that they want to, or even dream the things that they dare to dream," Asagwara told CBC News in 2017.

Asagwara was also one of CBC Manitoba's Future 40 finalists last fall.

Southdale: Audrey Gordon (PC)

Audrey Gordon is the new PC MLA for Southdale. (James Turner/CBC)

Audrey Gordon won for the PCs in the Winnipeg riding of Southdale. 

She is one of the trio of new MLAs who have become the first black candidates elected to the Manitoba Legislature, along with the NDP's Uzoma Asagwara and Jamie Moses. 

Born in Jamaica, Gordon has lived in Winnipeg most of her life.

She has 25 years of experience working in the public sector and has worked for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority as director of its home care program. 

She holds a master's degree in business administration and bachelor of arts from the University of Manitoba, as well as being certified in applied counselling.

She ran for the PCs in 2016 but lost to now-NDP Leader Wab Kinew in Fort Rouge. A poll released heading into that election suggested she was in a dead heat with Kinew and then-Liberal leader Rana Bokhari.

She rides a motorcycle, is an avid reader, has served on a number of education and health-care boards, and is a volunteer at her local church, the PC Party website says.

St. Vital: Jamie Moses (NDP) 

Jamie Moses is the newly minted NDP MLA for St. Vital. (Justin Deeley/CBC)

The NDP's Jamie Moses is the new member of the legislative assembly for St. Vital — and among the first black MLAs in Manitoba history.

He lost in 2016 in a tight race that saw Progressive Conservative candidate Colleen Mayer win by fewer than 400 votes.

Moses, a software company employee, previously worked for Investors Group and the Canadian Wheat Board. He holds a bachelor's degree in agribusiness from the University of Manitoba.

Moses is a longtime resident of St. Vital, his candidate profile on the NDP website says, and he serves on the board of Glenwood Community Centre and Glenwood Parent Advisory Council.

He was a successful high school and university athlete, winning three provincial basketball titles and playing football for the U of M. Moses has coached high school basketball for more than a decade.

Moses is married and has two kids.

Notre Dame: Malaya Marcelino (NDP)

Malaya Marcelino (NDP) is the new MLA for Notre Dame. (Manitoba NDP)

Malaya Marcelino is the new NDP MLA for Notre Dame. The new west central Winnipeg riding is composed of parts of the former Minto, Logan and Tyndall Park ridings, following boundary changes in a 2018 riding redistribution.

Marcelino continues a family legacy in Manitoba provincial politics. 

Her mother, Flor Marcelino, served as NDP MLA for the Logan riding and in 2007 became the first woman of colour to be elected to the Manitoba Legislature. Flor served as minister of multiculturalism, minister of culture and, more recently, as the interim leader of the NDP after the party lost to the PCs in 2016. She did not run in this year's election.

Malaya Marcelino's father was recently named an honorary consul general of the Philippines.

She and her family immigrated to Winnipeg from Manila, Philippines, when she was four.

A mother of two, Marcelino works as a communications specialist for a local agribusiness firm. 

She plans to focus on improvements to health care, schools and recreation activities for families, and to push for better mental health supports, the NDP website says. 

Marcelino is also completing her master's in political studies at the U of M.

Wolseley: Lisa Naylor (NDP)

Lisa Naylor (NDP) won in Wolseley. (Justin Deeley/CBC)

Lisa Naylor won Wolseley for the NDP and takes over for her predecessor, Rob Altemeyer, who decided against running this year. The riding has been NDP orange since 1990.

Naylor has lived in Wolseley for 20 years and has represented parents and students in the area since 2014 as the vice-chair of the Winnipeg School Division board and Ward 4 trustee. 

She has also served on the executive of the Manitoba School Boards Association, and the boards of the University of Winnipeg Students' Association daycare and Klinic Community Health Centre.

A longtime feminist activist, mental health advocate and defender of LGBTQ rights, Naylor successfully fought for her same-gender partner to be acknowledged as the legal parent of her child in the early 2000s.

Naylor worked with sexually exploited youth in Toronto as an outreach worker when she began a career that has spanned three decades and involved stints in front-line social and community health services. 

She has worked as a health educator and counsellor at the Women's Health Clinic, and as a school trustee introduced a policy protecting the inclusion of transgender, two-spirit and non-binary students and staff, her candidate profile on the NDP website says.

Keewatinook: Ian Bushie (NDP)

Ian Bushie won in Keewatinook. (NDP)

The geographically gargantuan northern Manitoba riding flipped from red to orange Tuesday night, with rookie Ian Bushie and the NDP taking Keewatinook back from the Liberals.

The riding consistently voted NDP from 1969 to 2011. In 2016, voters elected Liberal candidate Judy Klassen, who did not run provincially this year.

Bushie, a father of six, is a member of Hollow Water First Nation. He was a band councillor before serving as chief of the community from 2004 to 2008.

For the past two decades he has owned and operated Grandpa George's Convenience and Gas. 

His NDP candidate profile on the party's website says Bushie serves as chair of the boards for Southeast Child and Family Services and the Shawenim Abinoojii. The latter specializes in providing culturally appropriate supports to families in the region. 

Bushie has also helped bring jobs and opportunities to remote northern communities, his candidate profile states, including the East Side Road project, which connected isolated First Nations via an all-season road.

Fort Garry: Mark Wasyliw (NDP)

Winnipeg School Division trustee Mark Wasyliw won in Fort Garry for the NDP. (CBC)

With his win in Fort Garry Tuesday night, lawyer and Winnipeg School Division trustee Mark Wasyliw continues the NDP hold on the Winnipeg riding for the fifth provincial election in a row.

James Allum previously served as MLA for the constituency, which had its boundaries redrawn, and was renamed from Fort Garry-Riverview, in a riding redistribution last year.

He has a master's degree in political science and a master's in criminal law, and was called to the bar in 2000.

Wasyliw served as commissioner for the Manitoba government's Residential Tenancies Branch for a decade.

Wasyliw has served as a school trustee since 2011, and as the Winnipeg School Division's board chair from 2014 to 2016. During that time, he helped push to expand French programming, advocated for the creation of the first bilingual Spanish program, and helped create a swimming program for Grade 4 students, his candidate profile on the NDP website says.

He also volunteers with Innocence Canada, formerly called the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted.

The Maples: Mintu Sandhu (NDP)

Mintu Sandhu won in The Maples for the NDP. (Travis Golby/CBC)

The NDP have again secured The Maples.

Voters in the northwest Winnipeg riding selected Sukhjinderpal (Mintu) Sandhu as their new MLA Tuesday.

The area has elected NDP candidates in every election since 1999. Before that, the Liberals came out on top in the 1990 and 1995 elections.

Former MLA Mohinder Saran ran and won for the NDP in 2016 but was kicked out of the party caucus in 2017 over harassment allegations.

Sandhu, who has lived in The Maples for 30 years, filled the void.

He immigrated to Canada with his parents as a teen, his candidate profile on the Manitoba NDP website says.

He speaks Hindi, Punjabi and English, and rose through the ranks as a gas station employee to become manager of operations.

Sandhu has owned his own business for nearly two decades and currently works as a general manager at Unicity Taxi.

He served for four years on Manitoba Infrastructure's motor transport board.

Sandhu has mentored youth through sports at the Maples Community Centre, raised funds for Immaculate Heart of Mary School and volunteers at Gurdwara Kalgidhar Darbar, his NDP candidate profile says.

Thompson: Danielle Adams (NDP)

Danielle Adams at her campaign headquarters Tuesday night. (Ramraajh Sharvendiran/CBC)

Danielle Adams took the northern Manitoba riding of Thompson for the NDP, after the PCs won it in 2016.

She has served on the boards of several organizations, including the Thompson Children's World Daycare, the Thompson Ski Club and the Thompson Labour Committee.

Adams previously worked in the constituency office of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski MP Niki Ashton, where she had a chance to connect with people living throughout the north, her candidate profile on the NDP website says.

St. James: Adrien Sala (NDP)

Adrien Sala was elected for the NDP in St. James. (NDP)

Adrien Sala will be the NDP MLA for St. James, after defeating PC candidate Michelle Richard.

Sala holds a master's certificate in project management from the University of Winnipeg, a master's degree in family social sciences, and a bachelor's degree in commerce.

After graduating, he worked on crime prevention in Winnipeg's inner city, through community programming aimed at helping marginalized youth get employed.

He currently works for Assiniboine Credit Union as director of operations and previously worked for the Manitoba government's housing and community development department as a special assistant and analyst, his NDP candidate profile says.

He also served on the boards for the John Howard Society of Manitoba and the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development.

Transcona: Nello Altomare (NDP)

Nello Altomare is the new NDP MLA for Transcona. (NDP)

Nello Altomare defeated the PCs' Blair Yakimoski to win Transcona for the New Democrats.

The son of Italian immigrants, Altomare was born in Winnipeg and graduated from Transcona Collegiate.

He holds education and arts degrees from the U of W, as well as a post-baccalaureate certificate from the U of M in educational administration.

He was a teacher and school administrator for 32 years with the River East Transcona School Division.

Altomare has coached and volunteered with a variety of youth sports teams and is actively involved in the Transcona Memorial United Church.

Borderland: Josh Guenter (PC)

Josh Guenter applauds Premier Brian Pallister's re-election Tuesday night. Guenter won for the PCs in Borderland. (James Turner/CBC)

Before beating the Liberals' Loren Braul to take the new southern Manitoba riding of Borderland for the PCs Tuesday night, Josh Guenter worked as a long-haul trucker.

"It's an incredible honour. I'm very humbled, deeply grateful to the voters of Borderland, and excited to get to work on their behalf," he said Tuesday night after the win.

Guenter, 25, was born in Altona and still lives in the area with his wife and son.

He has studied at the U of M and the University of Ottawa. While living in the nation's capital for a couple years, he worked on Parliament Hill as a campaign manager for MP Candice Bergen (Portage-Lisgar).

Guenter also worked for Morden-Winkler MLA Cameron Friesen, who was re-elected on Tuesday.

Burrows: Diljeet Brar (NDP)

Dijeet Brar celebrates his victory after taking the Burrows riding for the NDP. (CBC)

Rookie MLA Dijeet Brar won in Burrows for the NDP.

"Diversity is strength," the new MLA said, adding he's committed to showing his worth to his constituents.

"It's a new chapter in life and it's a challenge," he said after the win. "It's a responsibility, because people have shown their trust in me, and I have to work hard to prove my worth and my capabilities and learn a lot through this process."

Brar, who grew up in India, graduated with a master's degree in education and taught at the Agricultural University in Punjab, India, his NDP candidate profile says.

Brar also worked as a broadcast journalist before immigrating to Canada and worked in agriculture for the province in the communities of Arborg and Beausejour, Man. 

He currently works as executive director of Bulla Arts International, which is focused on cultural development for kids. He and others helped raise funds for the creation of a master's of human rights program at the U of M.

He and his family have lived in Amber Trails since 2014. 

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