Just about one month after being named the acting grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, (AMC) Eric Redhead has now stepped away from the position, and he now has his sights set on provincial politics and a seat in the Manitoba Legislature.
Redhead, who was serving his second term as the chief of the Shamattawa First Nation and has also been serving as acting grand chief of AMC since March 21, announced this week that he will step away from both positions, but Redhead says he has no plans to step away from politics.
Redhead will now seek the nomination to fill the vacancy that was created after former Thompson MLA Danielle Adams was tragically killed in a vehicle collision in December of 2021.
“When Danielle Adams passed it was such a tragedy for the north,” Redhead said while speaking to the Winnipeg Sun on Wednesday. “And I just felt like there was a huge gap left from her passing and a need to continue with that momentum that she created, and I felt that I could be the perfect person to take on that role.
“Our values align very nicely, and I would like to continue that work, and build on the work she has done.”
As of now, Redhead is the only person seeking the nomination in the Thompson constituency, as former Thompson city councillor Oswald Sawh announced his intentions to seek the candidacy earlier this year, but then withdrew shortly after making that announcement.
And unless any last-minute candidates put their name in to run for the nomination, it appears likely that Redhead will receive it, as the nomination process is scheduled to take place later this week.
Redhead said he believes his time as the chief of Shamattawa, a remote northern Manitoba First Nation community, has given him the knowledge and experience to now succeed in provincial politics.
“I bring a huge amount of experience when it comes to negotiating and putting pressure on all levels of government from municipal, to provincial to federal, so I believe that would set me up and set the riding up for success,” Redhead said.
He said he believes one of his biggest accomplishments as chief of Shamattawa was getting the federal government to send members of the military to the community in 2020 to help with efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19, while the community was dealing with an outbreak of the virus.
“That was something I was told over and over again would never happen, and I do believe we set a precedent,” Redhead said. “We set that precedent, and it opened the door for the military to support other communities, and that was no easy feat.”
Redhead, who said he is a single father currently living in the city of Thompson, said he also has years of experience in health care, and said he would be an advocate for bringing more and improved health care services to the riding, and also for improving child care and other essential services in the north.
“It is infuriating to me some of the health care cuts we have seen by this government in the north, and I have seen first-hand how those cuts have put a strain on people in the Thompson riding, and on citizens of the north,” he said.
“I plan to push and to fight to make sure that the Thompsons riding gets what it deserves, and gets what the people of the north deserve.”
— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun