Wab Kinew made Manitoba history when he was elected as leader of the provincial NDP on Sept. 16.
In a decisive victory over his rival, Steve Ashton, Kinew secured 728 votes over Ashton’s 253, winning the leadership race and making Kinew the first Indigenous person to be elected to lead a major party in the province.
His win was tinged by concerns about his past, including two convictions and a pair of stayed charges of assaulting a former partner. Kinew addressed the issues in his speech prior to the Sept. 16 vote. Within half an hour of his victory, Manitoba Progressive Conservatives launched an attack site against him.
Kinew hasn’t shied away from discussing the charges, which occurred over a decade ago, in media or at public events. He’s apologized for his behaviour and wrote about the two criminal convictions in his 2015 memoir, The Reason You Walk.
However, his accounts in his book differ from what court heard. CBC News reviewed audio from a 2004 sentencing hearing, in which a Crown attorney stated Kinew punched a taxi driver through the open driver’s side window after directing “racial comments” to the driver throughout the ride.
In August, Kinew’s past was also called into focus after an anonymous email was sent to Winnipeg media outlets, bringing to light the two stayed charges of assault. Kinew maintains the incident never happened. Tara Hart, his ex-partner, maintains it did, and shared her story with The Canadian Press earlier this month.
Hart has said she doesn’t know why the charges were stayed, and Kinew has said he doesn’t remember.
CBC News transcribed several of Kinew’s recent statements and segments from his book regarding various elements of the controversy, and has included reactions from experts and politicians provided to CBC in interviews since the August email.
Other experts have been asked to weigh in using the annotation tool.
Click on the highlighted sections to see the annotations.