After a last minute onslaught of attacks from within his own party about past allegations of assault and some of his lyrics when he was a hip-hop performer, indigenous activist Wab Kinew is the new leader of Manitoba’s New Democratic Party after running on a platform of increasing the minimum wage, reinvigorating disenchanted and disenfranchised voters, funding for after school programs and a stronger push for a stronger response to the opioid crisis.
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 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. “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 web site 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’s victory speech: