Infighting, leadership aspirations growing within NDP
While Wab Kinew claims he has a “new” NDP team, the rampant dysfunction in his party’s ranks paints a much different picture – one that confirms nothing has changed since the days of Greg Selinger.
“Manitobans had a front row seat to the circus caused by NDP infighting under Greg Selinger, and it is clear that there’s nothing new with Wab Kinew,” said Rochelle Squires, PC candidate for Riel. “NDP dysfunction brought the former government to a standstill and Manitobans paid the price with higher taxes and longer ER wait times. We know that a vote for Wab Kinew means a return to the days of broken government under the NDP.”
Kinew’s Deputy Leader, St. John’s NDP candidate Nahanni Fontaine, is avoiding public events with the NDP Leader. Now, she has also released a 2-minute campaign video that does not feature or even mention Wab Kinew and does not use any NDP branding, causing many to question if this is actually a pre-emptive launch of a leadership campaign in the event that Kinew is forced to step down. Her reluctance to associate herself with Kinew or the NDP brand make it clear that she is uncomfortable with Wab Kinew’s record and she knows that Wab is not worth the risk.
Elmwood NDP candidate Jim Maloway, the longest serving member of the NDP caucus, has also distanced himself from Wab Kinew and the NDP brand. He has refused to put up any election signs with the new Wab Kinew branding, and has even gone so far as to cover up and hide the “NDP” on the signs he is using.
During the NDP leadership race, Wab Kinew’s rival and former long-time Thompson NDP MLA Steve Ashton released information about Kinew’s troubled past to NDP delegates and said “he refused to own up to the domestic assault charges saying ‘it didn’t happen’, effectivity calling the alleged victim a liar.” Following the leadership race, Kinew punished Steve Ashton by denying him the right to run for the NDP nomination in Thompson.
Kinew’s plan has since backfired, however, with his hand-picked candidate losing the Thompson NDP nomination to long-time Ashton loyalist Danielle Adams. Upon winning the nomination, Ms. Adams immediately rebuked Wab Kinew stating “I always have supported Steve (Ashton) and I always will. And yes I do believe he should have been able to run.” Even as Thompson’s NDP candidate, it is clear that Adams has no faith in Wab Kinew’s leadership.
Perhaps the most telling sign that NDP dysfunction will only continue under Wab Kinew is his decision to hire Erin Selby as a senior advisor and campaign spokesperson. Selby served as the Minister of Health and higher ER wait times under Greg Selinger before revolting against her own party and plunging the Manitoba government into chaos as part of the “Rebel 5”. And already, she has made up items not in the official NDP platform.
“There is nothing new with Wab Kinew, and there is nothing new about New Democrats,” said Squires. “The NDP is a party of broken trust and dysfunction, and Manitobans simply don’t want to go back to those dark days. Only a strong, united PC team will shorten wait times, make life more affordable, and continue building a better Manitoba.”