May 31, 2020

12° C, Mainly clear

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?


Advertise With Us

Women's accusations cloud Kinew's NDP leadership victory

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Kinew has repeatedly apologized for his past, which include convictions for assault and impaired driving when he was in his early 20s.</p>


Kinew has repeatedly apologized for his past, which include convictions for assault and impaired driving when he was in his early 20s.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/9/2017 (986 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Wab Kinew had mere hours to savour his Manitoba NDP leadership victory before facing more questions about his past after the mother and the sister of a former common law partner he is alleged to have assaulted 14 years ago spoke this weekend to the Free Press.

Political observers say the women's accusations will cloud his leadership and perhaps prevent the beleaguered NDP from enjoying the traditional — if sometimes temporary — bump in support a party receives when it selects a new leader.

"It makes it more difficult for Wab Kinew to create a new, untarnished image for the New Democratic Party," said Paul Thomas, professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Manitoba. "So much of the party's reputation and brand is associated with the leader."

If allegations of past domestic violence continue to dog Kinew, it could erode the confidence even of his leadership supporters, Thomas said.

"A lot of people, no doubt, behind the Kinew campaign will be having at least reservations — even second thoughts — about what they've done," he said Sunday.

Chris Adams, another Winnipeg political scientist, said if Kinew can't shake the allegations, it raises questions as to whether the NDP under his leadership will be able to regain swing ridings, particularly in south Winnipeg, that are critical to winning a majority government.

"The question is, are those (negative stories) going to continue in the next couple of years? That has an impact on the south Winnipeg voters and whether they stay with (Premier Brian) Pallister or they go back to the NDP fold."

Kinew, 35, who was first elected to the legislature in Fort Rouge in April 2016, scored a big win over veteran politician Steve Ashton in Saturday's leadership convention, taking 728 of the 981 votes cast. In doing so, he won delegate support from throughout the province and was endorsed overwhelmingly by organized labour.

In the dying days of the campaign, Tara Hart, who was the centre of 14-year-old domestic assault allegations against Kinew, spoke to the media for the first time. She said Kinew threw her across the room causing her to sustain rug burns to her legs.

In an interview with Free Press columnist Gordon Sinclair, Jr., this past weekend, Hart's mother Wendy Bird and sister Melanie Hart offered more details of the alleged incident, including an accusation that Kinew dragged Tara Hart by the hair down an apartment building hallway when the two lived in a downtown Winnipeg highrise.

Two charges of domestic assault against Kinew were ultimately stayed. The new NDP leader has repeatedly denied he ever assaulted Hart.

On Saturday, speaking to convention delegates he apologized for the pain that the allegations have caused the party and survivors of domestic abuse.

While Kinew did not grant interviews with local media on Sunday, he issued a statement apologizing again "to anyone who has been reliving experiences of intimate partner violence" as a result of the stories about himself in the media.

"I acknowledge this is painful for Wendy and Melanie, and I apologize to (Tara Hart) and her whole family for my actions that contributed to their pain," he said.

Speaking to NDP convention delegates on Saturday, he brought up Hart's domestic violence allegations, saying that he accepted responsibility "for the things that I did that contributed to the end of our relationship."

Within minutes of Kinew's victory Saturday, Manitoba's Progressive Conservative party launched a website,, that attacks the new leader's policies as well as his past, citing examples of misogynistic music lyrics from his hip hop days and past tweets that degraded women.

Kinew, an author, Indigenous-rights activist and former broadcaster and university administrator, says he is a changed man. He has repeatedly apologized for his past, which include convictions for assault and impaired driving when he was in his early 20s.

Thomas said Kinew has already "gone some distance" to acknowledge past mistakes and say he's sorry. "I'm not sure how much further he can go. It's very tough," he said.

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Read full biography


Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us