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Oswald officially begins run for leadership of provincial NDP

NDP MLA Theresa Oswald announces she will run for the leadership of the Manitoba NDP Sunday afternoon.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

NDP MLA Theresa Oswald announces she will run for the leadership of the Manitoba NDP Sunday afternoon.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/12/2014 (1427 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Theresa Oswald has made it official, launching her leadership campaign Sunday to unseat Premier Greg Selinger as leader of the New Democratic Party and become Manitoba's first woman premier.

Paramount among the former cabinet minister's promises was to run a clean campaign and heal the rift in the party that she and four fellow cabinet ministers opened when they publicly called for Selinger to step aside this fall. The dissident five gave up their cabinet posts and all were visible presences at Oswald's rally.

The honour of the podium, however, went to two new high-profile supporters who both introduced Oswald at the kickoff.

Tourism Minister Ron Lemieux and former cabinet minister Nancy Allan praised Oswald as a leader who represents the NDP's best shot to win the next provincial election.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/12/2014 (1427 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Theresa Oswald has made it official, launching her leadership campaign Sunday to unseat Premier Greg Selinger as leader of the New Democratic Party and become Manitoba's first woman premier.

Paramount among the former cabinet minister's promises was to run a clean campaign and heal the rift in the party that she and four fellow cabinet ministers opened when they publicly called for Selinger to step aside this fall. The dissident five gave up their cabinet posts and all were visible presences at Oswald's rally.

The honour of the podium, however, went to two new high-profile supporters who both introduced Oswald at the kickoff.

Tourism Minister Ron Lemieux and former cabinet minister Nancy Allan praised Oswald as a leader who represents the NDP's best shot to win the next provincial election.

Later, Lemieux brushed off questions that throwing his support against a Selinger rival could jeopardize his own cabinet standing.

"The premier, when he called for a leadership convention, made it clear everyone can support whoever they feel could best represent Manitoba and the New Democratic Party," Lemieux told media.

He said others in the party caucus would join him.

In her remarks, Oswald pledged to bear her share of responsibility for creating the political chasm in the first place.

Theresa Oswald launches her campaign to lead the Manitoba NDP with dozens of friends and supporters, including MLAs Ron Lemieux and Nancy Allan.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Theresa Oswald launches her campaign to lead the Manitoba NDP with dozens of friends and supporters, including MLAs Ron Lemieux and Nancy Allan.

"In this whole process, which has been challenging for the whole party, I have had literally hundreds of phone calls from people in the party and outside. Absolutely people said they were surprised and, indeed, cross that we had come forward in public," Oswald told reporters afterward.

"When I had a chance to speak with them about the journey I was on and talked about the fact much work had been done in private, they understood, but messages were very clear coming back to me that citizens don't want politics to be a blood sport. They want politics to be respectful and to be about the issues and ideas and really what's at stake," Oswald said.

Both Lemieux and Allan said their support for Oswald reflected their faith in her to beat Conservative Opposition leader Brian Pallister at the polls.

Oswald herself rallied supporters against a Pallister-led government, warning that the Opposition leader would reverse decades of social gains under the NDP and return the province to the austerity era of the 1990s with cuts to education and health spending.

"We are on a path to see Brian Pallister win the next election. That's a cold, hard truth," Oswald said.

The first to declare her candidacy for the March 8 leadership convention — even before Selinger, who is expected to mount a fierce battle for control of the party — Oswald's pledge to run a respectful campaign hits at the heart of her bid.

Polls suggest and commentators have stated that her bid is risky because she was one of dissident five who publicly aired their opposition to the premier's leadership.

Both Lemieux and Allan said their choice of leader is a reflection of their hopes for the party at the polls, not a rehash of the caucus divisions of the last several weeks.

"In politics, as in sport, you want to win and you want to support whoever you feel has the best chance to win and I feel Theresa Oswald has the best chance," Lemieux said.

Nancy Allan, who told supporters she urged Oswald to get into politics in the first place in 2003, said, "She's an incredible person. She's very dynamic, very engaging, a solid, solid minister and I would love to see a woman premier in this province."

The event, held in the heart of Oswald's southeast Winnipeg riding of Seine River, was held at the Jonathan Toews (Dakota) Community Centre on Dakota Street.

Alexandra Paul

Alexandra Paul
Reporter

Alexandra is a veteran news reporter who has covered stories for the Winnipeg Free Press since 1987. She held the medical beat for nearly 17 years, and today specializes in coverage of Indigenous-related issues. She is among the most versatile journalists on the paper’s staff.

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