1. Leah Gazan
2. Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie / Victoria Redsun (tie)
3. Lena Andres
Favourite political moment
1. Leah Gazan’s campaign, nomination and election
2. Climate strike
3. Uzoma Asagwara's election
Leah Gazan, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre, named the Uniter 30’s Favourite Local Activist, has been a key lobbyist for Bill 262 and player in the Idle No More movement.
The former University of Winnipeg professor hasn’t left her activist roots behind in Winnipeg but says “I’m hoping to bring that grassroots voice into the House of Commons.”
Gazan is still fighting for the government to accept the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
“I pledged to support a government-sponsored bill that’s as good as 262 or better ... I certainly plan on pushing that forward,” she says.
On Mar. 31, that vision paid off at the Winnipeg Centre NDP nomination. Members filled Knox United Church, leading an NDP representative to say that there were more people at that meeting “than there has been in a generation.” The nomination meeting was voted the Uniter 30’s best political moment of the year, but Gazan is humble about her win over Andrew Swan.
“People put too much stake in individual politicians ... The nomination was symbolic of people banding together for a common cause for social justice (and) climate justice for all people,” Gazan says.
“We’re currently in a growing corporate dictatorship where profits take precedence over human rights, over our Mother Earth, over fundamentally Indigenous human rights ... What I felt the day of that nomination was a great sense of hope. We can collectively come together. We can change the direction. We can change where things are headed, not just Winnipeg Centre, not just the country, but also globally.
“It is the best riding in the country. It has the most diversity. It’s where a lot of great movements have been born ... I’m so honoured to serve the people of Winnipeg Centre to be part of that rich, progressive history.”
Published in Volume 74, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 28, 2019)