Irregularities in NDP leadership race trigger probe

Results of an NDP investigation are expected this week after one of the two men vying to be Manitoba's next premier alleged irregularities at party leadership selection meetings.

Results of an NDP investigation into alleged irregularities at party leadership selection meetings are expected this week after they were brought forward by one of the two men vying to be Manitoba's next premier.

Thompson MLA Steve Ashton is running against St. Boniface MLA Greg Selinger for the leadership of the governing New Democrats. Party delegates will make their pick in two weeks.

Officials in Ashton's campaign are asking for new delegate meetings in the ridings of Riel, Inkster and Elmwood after allegations of misconduct surfaced. The officials said those meetings were held in venues that were too small with poor parking.

They also allege that typically lax registration deadlines were strictly enforced, shutting some party members out of the vote.

Lorraine Sigurdson, president of Manitoba's NDP, said Saturday the allegations are being investigated.

"I just have to leave it to the appeal committee to review the complaints made by the Ashton campaign, and we'll see where we go from there," Sigurdson said.

Ashton's camp also aired concerns over a late venue change at a key delegate meeting in Winnipeg's The Maples neighbourhood Saturday.

But Sigurdson said all 1,400 party members were notified of the change and staff were waiting at the previous venue to give directions just in case.

Ashton carries riding

The day was carried by Ashton, who walked away with 135 of the 138 delegates up for grabs.

In a statement, Ashton said his success in The Maples paves a clear path for a recount of Wednesday's votes in the riding of Inkster.

"With over 60 spoiled ballots in Inkster, and yet very low amounts of spoiled ballots in The Maples, it is clear a recount is required immediately," Ashton said.

"The fact that The Maples meeting was twice as large, yet [had] far lower rates of spoiled ballots,... clearly demonstrates the need for recount."

Despite netting only three delegates in The Maples, Selinger retains the lead in the leadership race by about 60.

The NDP will choose a new leader at a convention set for Oct. 17.

Outgoing Premier Gary Doer is stepping down. He has since been named Canada's next ambassador to the U.S.