Friction with party leader a PC fabrication, says Thompson NDP candidate

Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative party is suggesting that there are rifts in the NDP between leader Wab Kinew and some of his candidates, but Thompson party members mentioned in a press release say the claims are far-fetched.

An Aug. 20 PC news release says that NDP deputy leader and St. John’s riding candidate Nahanni Fontaine is avoiding Kinew and avoids mentioning him or the NDP in a campaign video, suggesting this may be a pre-emptive launch of a leadership campaign if Kinew is forced to step down. It also says that Elmwood NDP candidate Jim Maloway, the NDP’s longest-serving MLA, has refused to put up signs with Wab Kinew branding and has hidden the word NDP on the signs that he is using.

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The PCs also say that the evidence of party dysfunction extends into the north, since the NDP constituency association chose Danielle Adams to be the party’s Thompson candidate. They characterized Adams, MP Niki Ashton’s assistant for the past 10 years, as a long-time Steve Ashton loyalist whose selection as a candidate disrupted Kinew’s plan to have “his hand-picked candidate” Cathy Pellizzaro carry the NDP banner. Ashton, Thompson MLA from 1981 to 2016, lost to Wab Kinew in the last NDP leadership contest and the PCs say he was punished by Kinew for releasing information about the NDP leader’s past during that campaign by being denied the right to seek the Thompson candidacy again.

“This is another cheap attempt by the PCs to distract from the fact Brian Pallister has completely ignored the people of the north, thrown the health care system into chaos, and cut 500 nurses while the NDP makes gains in the latest Main Street poll,” said a spokesperson for the Adams campaign. “Danielle Adams fully supports Wab's leadership. In fact, they are travelling together this weekend to Nelson House and around Thompson to listen to the people in those communities. Thompson has been without real representation for the past three years. We’ll stay focused on building a better Manitoba for all of us while the PCs try to run from their record of cuts and a privatization agenda.”

Pellizzaro also disagreed with the PCs calling her Kinew’s preferred candidate.

“I was not hand-picked by Wab Kinew,” she said. “I held an NDP membership for many years, held various postions on the Thompson constituency executive and decided to run for the nomination.”

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