Manitoba New Democrats make Marcelino interm leader | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Manitoba New Democrats make Marcelino interm leader

Flor Marcelino, seen in this undated photo provided by the Manitoba NDP, was formally approved as the party's interim leader Saturday. Marcelino says she will work to rebuild the party following the April 19 election loss that ended 17 years of NDP rule in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Manitoba NDP MANDATORY CREDIT
May 07, 2016 - 3:19 PM

WINNIPEG - Manitoba New Democrats formally named Flor Marcelino as their interim leader Saturday — part of their plan to rebuild from a devastating loss in last month's election that prompted former premier Greg Selinger to announce his resignation.

Marcelino, 64, has been in the legislature since 2007 and held the relatively low-profile cabinet position of multiculturalism and literacy since 2009. She said her aim is to hold the new Progressive Conservative government to account in question period while also travelling the province to boost NDP support.

"I see this as an opportunity to really connect with all members of our party, do serious listening and engaging in productive, respectful conversations ... and fundraising too."

Marcelino's selection as interim leader surprised many people when it was first proposed by the NDP caucus a week ago. There are other veterans who retained their seats on election night that held more senior cabinet positions or have served roles within the party, such as former caucus chairman Matt Wiebe.

NDP provincial secretary Keith Bellamy said last week Marcelino was proposed for the job by a majority of her fellow caucus members because she is someone everyone can work with. The decision was given final approval Saturday by the NDP provincial council.

Marcelino, who was born in the Phillipines and moved to Winnipeg in 1982, had a brain tumour in 2002 that affected her speech.

"After that, my way of talking or communicating has been a little slower than before," she said.

Marcelino also brings experience as a business owner and has deep connections in the Filipino community.

One of the biggest tasks Marcelino faces is trying to unite a party that was bitterly divided by a caucus coup that Selinger barely survived last year. Marcelino sided with Selinger in a three-way leadership race, and some of her caucus colleagues were in opposing camps.

There is no word yet on when the NDP will choose a permanent leader. Bellamy has said the party is eyeing a time frame of between 18 and 24 months from now, but provincial council will make the final decision at a future meeting.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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