Kinew enters NDP race, expects to take some punches
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/04/2017 (2247 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Rookie MLA Wab Kinew declared his candidacy for the NDP leadership Monday morning, quietly but passionately declaring himself to be the leader best-suited to take on Premier Brian Pallister and his Progressive Conservative government.
Kinew said he’s running for people whose voices aren’t often heard: the Manitoba Youth Centre inmate, for example.
“I want to say directly to that young person, ‘I am you, and you can change your life for the better,'” he said.
Or the parents who aren’t sure they can provide for their children, but “know your kid has something beautiful to give to the world.”
“They say, ‘Wab, what about your past?’,” Kinew told a low-key gathering of about 50 supporters beneath the statue of Louis Riel.
Kinew, who made the announcement to about 50 supporters near the statue of Louis Riel on the grounds of the Legislative Building, said that he is willing to sacrifice some of his own well-being by exposing himself to personal attacks about his past.
During last year’s provincial election campaign, the author, musician and university administrator was repeatedly forced to apologize and defend himself against misogynistic and homophobic lyrics he had previously written. He convinced Fort Rouge voters he had become a different man.
On Monday, he said the Tories have “millions to spend” on attack ads.
“They can make it about me all they want,” he said. “I will continue to make it about the interests of all Manitobans.”
Kinew, who was introduced by fellow New Democrat MLA Nahanni Fontaine, said he has the support of other members of the party’s 12-member caucus heading into the Sept. 16 leadership convention.
He acknowledged that the party — decimated at the polls last spring — has lost the trust of Manitobans. He said he plans to field a slate of new faces in the 2020 campaign. Until then, he plans to deliver effective opposition.
“Manitobans sent us a message,” he said. “They put us on a time out. The time out is over. I will hold Brian Pallister accountable.”
Kinew’s lone policy statement was that Manitoba needs a strong 30-year job plan for young people to overcome the impact of globalization, automation and artificial intelligence.
He would not respond to a question about whether an NDP government would reopen the three Winnipeg hospital emergency rooms the Tories announced Friday they plan to close, but said a government’s role is to provide health care to people where they live.
The only other declared candidate for the party leadership is Michelle McHale, a labour representative and community activist who does not have a seat in the legislature.
Press secretary Rachel Morgan said the NDP caucus has not yet decided if it will place any restrictions on the activities and roles of leadership candidates in question period or debates in the house.
However, Kinew was not among the seven MLAs Monday who put questions to the Tories on health care.
Updated on Monday, April 10, 2017 3:37 PM CDT: Adds photos, comment from press secretary.
Updated on Monday, April 10, 2017 3:58 PM CDT: Adds missing words.