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This article was published 26/4/2016 (1363 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA — Manitoba NDP MP Niki Ashton is giving some thought to making a second bid for the leadership of her federal party.
The federal NDP is seeking a new leader after Tom Mulcair failed to achieve enough support during a leadership review vote in Edmonton earlier this month. There is no date set yet to pick his replacement but it isn't expected to happen for more than a year.
Ashton, 33, is pondering whether to jump into the race when the time comes, although she said her main focus right now is representing her riding.
"People have been asking me and are encouraging me to consider it," Ashton told the Free Press in an interview Tuesday. "I appreciate it."
The MP for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski finished seventh among seven candidates for the NDP leadership in 2012. Mulcair ultimately won that contest on the fourth ballot.
Some pundits have questioned whether Ashton might return to Manitoba for a run at the provincial NDP leadership, which is being vacated by Greg Selinger after the party's disastrous election results last week. Her father, Steve Ashton, lost his seat in the Manitoba legislature, which he had held for the NDP since 1981.
She says that is not in her plans.
"I'm very interested in being part of the rebuilding efforts in Manitoba but my focus is on the federal level," she said.
Ashton didn't speak against Mulcair ahead of the leadership convention but she also refused to publicly support him either. She said Tuesday she supports the caucus decision to keep Mulcair on as leader until his replacement is chosen.
Ashton was first elected as an MP in 2008 and was re-elected in both 2011 and 2015. She said the party needs to do some work at both the provincial and federal levels, but says the electoral losses were not the same.
Provincially, the loss came for the NDP after almost 17 years in government. The lack of support for the provincial NDP and for Selinger was apparent even as she campaigned federally last fall, said Ashton.
"I certainly heard criticism of our premier when I was running," she said.
She said the NDP needs to get back to its roots and focus on fighting for social and economic justice. She said the provincial NDP should do the same kind of soul-searching election post-mortem the federal NDP just did, which gave the party a better sense of how party members were feeling and what they'd like to see happen next.
Thus far nobody has officially declared themselves to be running for the NDP leadership. MPs Nathan Cullen, Ruth Ellen Brosseau and Alexandre Boulerice are all considering their options. Former MP Megan Leslie and former NDP president Brian Topp have all said they are not interested.
Topp was second in the 2012 race behind Mulcair. Cullen was third.