The Manitoba Liberal Party candidate in Fort Whyte is championing Indigenous rights and values ahead of election day.
Darrel Morin is running for MLA in the constituency, long represented by Progressive Conservative Party leader Brian Pallister.
"I know that the Liberal party of Manitoba wanted to put together a full slate of candidates and I appreciated that, and by the same token, I know that there were some people who didn’t necessarily want to run against Pallister, as they thought it was a strong conservative riding," the 27-year-old from St. Boniface said. "I decided there’s a lot of things he may be doing right, there’s a lot of things that past leadership hasn’t been doing exactly what I thought could be best for all Manitobans.
"If only to bring those situations to the forefront of some of the election issues, is what I hope to do in the next two weeks," he said. "So win or lose for myself, people know there are ignored Manitobans."
Morin, who studied communications at the University of Winnipeg and Red River College, said he is bilingual and identifies as a Métis person, and said those respective communities have long been put on the back burner by governing parties at the provincial level.
"I know a lot of French organizations are being ignored and some of the funding has been cut for some of those," he said. "I’d look at ways of addressing the people I grew up with and the people I represent: franco-Manitobans and Métis.
"Proper representation from every type of Manitoban in our government, I think, is important," he added. "So that’s something I would want: to bring Louis Riel’s name to the forefront but also more importantly his values of how he saw Manitoba being a more inclusive province."
In putting his name on a ballot, Morin said he was motivated by the "different qualities of life" for Indigenous people in Manitoba and others.
"We just have to look at boil water advisories, to all the children in care, to all the Indigenous people incarcerated," Morin said.
In deciding to run in Fort Whyte with the Liberals, Morin said the leadership of Dougald Lamont was critical in securing his support.
"The way I hear them talking about certain issues like addictions clinics is a more humanistic approach to treating Manitobans," he said. "We’re such a small province and we all end up at the same social. At the end of the day we have to take care of each other."
While Morin said he hasn’t been very active on the campaign trail as of yet, he expects to be in the community this week to meet with voters.
"I have been getting emails and in the subject line, a lot of them are climate and environmental issues," Morin said. "People are talking about mining in our province, our lack of moving forward on anything that’s renewable energy or the extending of Hydro lines not necessarily where people want them to be."
Also running for MLA in Fort Whyte are Green Party candidate Sara Campbell, Manitoba First candidate Jason Holenski, NDP candidate Beatrice Bruske, and Progressive Conservative candidate Brian Pallister. Holenski and Campbell did not respond to an interview request. The provincial election is Sept. 10.
Danielle Da Silva