Man­i­toba NDP pick Kinew as party and Op­po­si­tion leader

Truro Daily News - - CANADA -

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. “is 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 decade­old crim­i­nal con­vic­tions, charges of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence that were stayed and rap lyrics with o en­sive terms for women, gays and les­bians and oth­ers.

Kinew, who was rst 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.

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

Kinew said threw Hart.

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

“I am not the man I was,” Kinew told del­e­gates be­fore the vote he never hit or 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.

“If Wab Kinew is elected leader, we run the risk of the next elec­tion be­ing about Wab Kinew,” Ash­ton’s cam­paign team wrote in an email to party mem­bers this week.

But Ash­ton did not crit­i­cize Kinew dur­ing his 30-minute speech be­fore votes were cast Satur­day. He fo­cused his at­ten­tion on Pre­mier Brian Pal­lis­ter’s Tories, who were elected last year.

“Brian, if you’re ac­tu­ally watch­ing ... take a look around be­cause we’re go­ing to make you the next one-term Con­ser­va­tive pre­mier,” Ash­ton said as he crit­i­cized Tory cuts to health care, changes to labour laws and a wage freeze be­ing im­posed on pub­lic-sec­tor work­ers.

is was Ash­ton’s third run at the party lead­er­ship. e 61-yearold ran un­suc­cess­fully for leader in 2009 and 2015 and lost his leg­is­la­ture seat in last year’s elec­tion. e 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 Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives and saw 17 years in power come to an end.

e NDP cur­rently holds 13 of the 57 leg­is­la­ture seats.

“I will carry for­ward the very im­por­tant role of unit­ing the Man­i­toba NDP,” Kinew told the crowd.

Kinew’s large mar­gin of vic­tory will help re­unite the NDP fol­low­ing a 2014 in­ter­nal re­volt that al­most top­pled Selinger, ac­cord­ing to Paul omas, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of po­lit­i­cal stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Man­i­toba.

“I think he can say, quite rightly, that he has a very strong man­date now to di­rect the party along the lines that he wants to see it go in.” 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.

CP PHOTO

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