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Ashton announces he's running for NDP leader

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/12/2014 (1424 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Thompson MLA Steve Ashton made it all but official today that he wants to lead the NDP into the next election.

He announced his intention in a single tweet this morning.

Ashton also said he met first with Premier Greg Selinger to announce he is resigning his cabinet post as Infrastructure and Transportation minister to run.

He said his resignation is effective at midnight as he needs to get several matters off his desk.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/12/2014 (1424 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Thompson MLA Steve Ashton made it all but official today that he wants to lead the NDP into the next election.

He announced his intention in a single tweet this morning.

Ashton also said he met first with Premier Greg Selinger to announce he is resigning his cabinet post as Infrastructure and Transportation minister to run.

He said his resignation is effective at midnight as he needs to get several matters off his desk.

Ashton said resigning was the right thing to do, and not to put pressure on Selinger to do the same. His Wikipedia profile has already been updated that his is stepping down.

He said as a minister he has the confidence of the premier, but in a leadership battle that dynamic changes.

"If you’re in a position of having any degree of disagreement, clearly the honourable thing to do is step down," he said.

Ashton ran for leadership NDP in 2009 after former premier Gary Doer resigned to become Canadian ambassador to the United States. Selinger handily won that race and subsequently led the party to its biggest electoral success, winning 37 seats, since it came to power in 1999.

Steve Ashton speaks to reporters outside his office at the Manitoba Legislative Building Monday after he announced he will enter the NDP leadership race.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Steve Ashton speaks to reporters outside his office at the Manitoba Legislative Building Monday after he announced he will enter the NDP leadership race.

A spokesman from Selinger said today the premier is not commenting on Ashton's resignation.

Selinger has said he does not intend to step down as premier as that is not in keeping with parliamentary governance. 

Ashton said he will file his nomination papers at the party's head office Tuesday morning and follow that up with a campaign launch.

He will also reveal the support that he has within the NDP to run.

"Actually, it’s support that I didn’t have last time," he said. "I do think people will see a significant support base."

Ashton, the longest-serving MLA first elected in 1981, also said he believes he can renew the party heading into the next election.

He added he has an advantage over rival Theresa Oswald in that he was not one of the MLAs to break cabinet confidentiality when Oswald and four other ministers resigned their posts Nov. 3 and openly criticized Selinger’s leadership.

"I really do believe that there is a critical element here of renewing the NDP," he said.

NDP leadership candidate Theresa Oswald, first out of the gate in the leadership race, issued this statement today:

"I welcome Steve to the race. I've had the privilege of working with Steve Ashton for many years around the cabinet table and I know he is smart, a hard worker and that no one can get a highway built like Steve can. I look forward to having a respectful and constructive dialogue with Steve about renewing our party to ensure we are able to stop Brian Pallister and the PCs in the next election from tearing apart the progress our government has made on health care and education."

Selinger has said he intends to fight for his job, but the timing of filing his nomination papers and announcing his leadership campaign is unknown.

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History

Updated on Monday, December 22, 2014 at 12:10 PM CST: Writethru, adds video.

1:05 PM: Changes photo

1:18 PM: Updates with comments from Oswald

1:20 PM: Adds that Selinger has no comment on Ashton's resignation

7:45 PM: Adds resignation letter

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