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Ashton wants NDP leadership rival Kinew to come clean about stayed 2003 domestic assault charges

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Wab Kinew, left and Steve Ashton at a 2017 NDP Leadership forum. Asthon said about two stayed domestic abuse charges against Kinew: "We don't know the full story. People deserve to know."</p>

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Wab Kinew, left and Steve Ashton at a 2017 NDP Leadership forum. Asthon said about two stayed domestic abuse charges against Kinew: "We don't know the full story. People deserve to know."

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/8/2017 (911 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

NDP leadership candidate Steve Ashton demanded Tuesday that rival Wab Kinew provide details about two domestic assault charges against him in 2003 that were stayed.

And Ashton encouraged the alleged victim from those charges 14 years ago to come forward and tell her story.

"This is not just something in the past — one of the two of us will be running for premier," Ashton said. "We don't know the full story. People deserve to know."

The charges, which were laid in Fisher Branch, surfaced late last week when anonymous emails alerted media to a list of Kinew's run-ins with the law, some of which he had not previously disclosed.

Kinew said Tuesday that he's already said all he's going to say on the subject, and will respect the need for privacy of the other person involved in the original charge.

"There was an allegation that was dropped," he said.

Kinew said he's been very active in gender equity and in reducing domestic violence, and especially "building a culture of consent on campus."

"I'm working hard to be part of the solution," he said.

He recognizes that others will continue to look for issues in his past, but said it provides him with an opportunity to highlight "the change I've gone through as an individual."

"It's given me a second chance at life," he said.

Kinew, who was elected to the legislature in Fort Rouge last year, told the Free Press last Friday that the alleged assaults didn’t happen.

"There was no substance to the allegations," he said. "It was investigated. It was dropped."

But that wasn't good enough for Ashton, who said Tuesday he decided to speak out after a domestic-violence survivor — not the woman who made the 2003 allegations against Kinew, he emphasized — told him Monday that Kinew's statements about the charges brought back the trauma she experienced in her own life, and did a disservice to all victims of domestic violence.

"I think he's got to own up to what happened," Ashton said. "I thought it was absolutely unacceptable that he made statements that don't reflect what happened (in 2003)."

Ashton said the public should hear the alleged victim's side of the story. "I'm not sure if she would. I would respect anyone who did," he said.

Ashton said his discussion Monday reminded him of the efforts that have gone into bringing an end to gender-based violence.

"From Take Back the Night Marches, to campus activism against sexual violence, to support for women's shelters and advocacy," he said. "Her words made me think of the courage of women who have been victims of gender-based violence that has led to so much change and how there is still so much more to do.

"So I am speaking out. I am calling on Wab Kinew to own up. The court documents are clear. The RCMP filed charges against him in Fisher Branch. The charges involved two counts of assault that were clearly identified as domestic assault. The case was delayed with numerous remands. In the end the charges were stayed, not dropped."

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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