Wab Kinew elected NDP leader in Man­i­toba

Toronto Star - - NEWS - STEVE LAM­BERT THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

WIN­NIPEG— Rookie politi­cian, Indige­nous rights ac­tivist and au­thor Wab Kinew was elected leader of the Man­i­toba NDP 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 a 728 to 253 mar­gin.

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

“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 decade-old 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 and stand­ing up for their val­ues.”

Kinew went into the vote fac­ing con­tro­versy over do­mes­tic vi­o­lence charges that were stayed by the Crown in 2004 and only re­cently re­vealed.

The com­plainant in that case, Tara Hart, went pub­lic this week and told The Cana­dian Press that Kinew “flung” her across a room in the apart­ment they shared, which caused her to suf­fer se­vere rug burns.

Kinew said he never hit or threw Hart.

Kinew has also been con­victed of as­sault­ing a taxi driver and im­paired driv­ing more than a decade ago — of­fences for which he re­cently re­ceived par­dons.

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

“To my two sons . . . be bet­ter than me. Be good men.”

Kinew’s only op­po­nent, Ash­ton, had been us­ing the rev­e­la­tions to try to swing del­e­gates to his side up un­til the vote. He said Kinew’s his­tory would make it harder for him to lead the Op­po­si­tion New Democrats into the next elec­tion slated for Oc­to­ber 2020.

“It’s a new day for the NDP and it’s a new day for Man­i­toba,” Wab Kinew said af­ter his vic­tory.

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