NDP candidate Wab Kinew launches campaign in Winnipeg

NDP candidate Wab Kinew officially launched his campaign in Winnipeg Sunday.

Kinew is running in the Fort Rouge constituency

Wab Kinew officially kicked off his campaign for the NDP in Fort Rouge Sunday. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

NDP candidate Wab Kinew officially launched his campaign in Winnipeg Sunday.

The hip hop artist and former CBC broadcaster is hoping to win the hearts and minds of voters in the Fort Rouge constituency this spring in the Manitoba provincial election.

"This is a remarkable constituency. It's extraordinarily diverse," Kinew said at his campaign headquarters. 

"I've been humbled to talk to people and hear about the challenges of being a senior citizen living on a fixed income ... from people who are well off and don't have too many complaints about their lot in life, but still feel passionately that we need justice for newcomers, indigenous people and people from the LGBTIQ and two-spirited community."

Kinew is an advocate for First Nations rights and the associate vice-president of indigenous affairs at the University of Winnipeg.

He was born in Kenora, Ont. His father was a residential school survivor who instilled the values of Anishinabe culture and language in him, Kinew said.

"When we embrace and build on our diversity, we will be even stronger and more prosperous going forward," NDP Leader Greg Selinger told the crowd at Kinew's campaign kick off Sunday. "There is no barrier to people being able to achieve what they want when we have a profound respect for the humanity, their culture, their background and their lived experience."

Kinew said the weeks that followed his candidacy announcement brought on a period of intense personal reflection that has given him insight into why the NDP plan is right for Manitobans.

"Government investments should put more of an emphasis on people rather than on corporation, and that's the NDP plan for jobs," Kinew said, adding Manitoba's health-care system has improved leaps and bounds since 1999 when the NDP was elected to govern.

"Manitobans can get the health-care services they need close to home and when they need it, and we need to protect that," Kinew said. "That doesn't happen by accident. That happens only when there is a government in place that cares about people and that asks high-income earners and corporations to pay some of the share."

Years-old misogynistic and homophobic lyrics and tweets of Kinew's were put under the microscope earlier this month. Kinew acknowledged in his 2015 book The Reason You Walk that he regretted making offensive remarks in the past and apologizes for any harm they have done.

Voters head to the polls April 19.


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