MLA, author Wab Kinew cho­sen NDP leader in Man­i­toba

Times Colonist - - Canada/World -

WIN­NIPEG — Rookie politi­cian, In­dige­nous rights ac­tivist and author Wab Kinew was elected leader of the Man­i­toba NDP on Satur­day, and vowed to re­build the op­po­si­tion party as he con­tin­ues to face ques­tions about his trou­bled past.

Party mem­bers elected Kinew, 35, over vet­eran cab­i­net min­is­ter Steve Ash­ton by al­most a 3-1 mar­gin — 728 to 253.

“It’s a new day for the NDP and it’s a new day for Man­i­toba,” Kinew de­clared to cheers fol­low­ing the vote.

“I will take this role tremen­dously se­ri­ously and con­duct my­self with the great­est hon­our, in­tegrity and hon­esty.”

Within min­utes of Kinew’s vic­tory, the gov­ern­ing Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives had a web­site up that high­lighted Kinew’s decade­old crim­i­nal con­vic­tions, charges of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence that were stayed and rap lyrics with of­fen­sive terms for women, gays and les­bians and others.

Kinew, who was first elected to the leg­is­la­ture last year, told re­porters he is will­ing to ad­dress at­tack ads.

“We know this is com­ing and what I’ll do is I’ll turn to my fam­ily, make sure they’re OK, check in with my team and then I’ll get right back to work­ing on be­half of the peo­ple of Man­i­toba.”

“I am not the man I was,” Kinew told del­e­gates be­fore the vote with his wife, Lisa Monkman, by his side.

Kinew’s only op­po­nent was Ash­ton, 61, who was at­tempt­ing a third run at the party lead­er­ship. The 26 per cent of the vote he cap­tured Satur­day was the low­est of his three lead­er­ship bids.

Kinew re­places for­mer pre­mier Greg Selinger, who stepped down af­ter the party lost the 2016 elec­tion to the PCs and saw 17 years in power come to an end.

The NDP cur­rently holds 13 of the 57 leg­is­la­ture seats.

Wab Kinew

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