MLA, author Wab Kinew chosen NDP leader in Manitoba
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.