Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Thomas Steen registers for re-election as assault charges hang overhead

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Thomas Steen (Elmwood-East Kildonan) is seeking re-election.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Thomas Steen (Elmwood-East Kildonan) is seeking re-election. Photo Store

First-time councillor Thomas Steen registered his re-election campaign this afternoon.

Steen, who is facing criminal charges for an alleged assault on a woman in the spring, said he doesn’t know how his legal troubles will affect his chances for representing Elmwood-East Kildonan.

"I have no idea," Steen said as he left city hall. "I’ll find out when I start door knocking."

Steen, 54, spent a night in jail last week after being accused of breaching a court order stemming from a domestic-assault arrest.

Steen was arrested July 11 and not released from custody until appearing before a provincial magistrate the following morning.

Steen was initially arrested in May following an alleged incident at the Boston Pizza on McPhillips Street involving a woman known to him.

Sources told the Free Press the alleged attack involved a punch to the head. The victim was not seriously injured.

Staff at the Boston Pizza said they were aware Steen had been there but said they did not witness the alleged assault.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and Steen is presumed innocent.

Steen was released on a promise to appear in court. His case is still pending.

Steen has refused to comment about the alleged incident and said his lawyer told him this morning not to talk about it.

The only other registered candidate for the ward is Paul Quaye.

If re-elected, Steen could lose his seat if convicted on the assault charge. Section 47 of the City Charter states a member of council forfeits their seat if convicted of an offense punishable by imprisonment for five years or more.

Steen is not known for voicing his concerns at city hall, either at committee or on the floor of council but he was eager to talk about his campaign.

"I love this job," Steen said. "I learned a lot in the first four years and we got lots done in the area but I feel I want to do more."

Steen cited streetscaping improvements on Henderson Highway and Watt Street as key accomplishments during his first term, adding there were also major make-overs of the ward’s recreational facilities.

"We’re doing the parks and community centres, keeping the youth busy at those places," he said. "When I became councillor people said the ward was at the tipping point and falling apart but I don’t think they think that today."

Before winning the council seat in 2010, Steen enjoyed a successful professional hockey career that included 14 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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