6 Manitoba candidates disclose criminal convictions, with 2 days before the deadline

Six candidates vying for seats in the Manitoba Legislature have disclosed past convictions, according to Elections Manitoba's website, two days before the deadline for disclosure forms required by new provincial law.

4 NDP candidates — including 2 sitting MLAs — and 2 Green candidates list convictions in mandatory disclosures

Manitobans head to the polls on Sept. 10. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

Six candidates vying for seats in the Manitoba Legislature have disclosed past convictions, according to Elections Manitoba's website, two days before the deadline for disclosure forms required by new provincial law.

So far, four NDP candidates and two Green Party candidates have acknowledged previous convictions in statements of disclosure provided to the elections agency and posted online. The offences range from impaired driving and assault to an illegal possession charge for alcohol dating back more than 50 years.

Two candidates, Tom Lindsey and Wayne Chacun of the NDP, disclosed impaired driving convictions. Lindsey, currently the MLA for Flin Flon, wrote that his conviction was in 1977.

Chacun, running in Riding Mountain, wrote his conviction was from 1987. He also reported a shoplifting conviction from 1986.

NDP Assiniboia candidate Joseph McKellep also reported a conviction for assault causing bodily harm from 1998, as well as a failure to comply conviction in 2000.

The party's leader, Wab Kinew, disclosed convictions from 2004 for assault, failure to provide a breath sample and two breaches of court orders. The Fort Rouge MLA has received pardons for the offenses.

"These were serious mistakes made years ago, for which they have all taken responsibility," the NDP said in a statement.

"Since then they have spent their careers — as a paramedic, a workplace health and safety officer, a youth restorative justice officer, and broadcaster, author, university administrator — working to make life better in their communities."

23 candidates yet to disclose

The statements of disclosure are required under a new law passed by the Progressive Conservative government, compelling candidates seeking provincial office to disclose convictions — not charges laid where no conviction was made — under Canada's Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or the Income Tax Act, or any other law linked to "financial dishonesty."

So far, 186 candidates have provided Elections Manitoba with their statements of disclosure. The 23 nominated candidates yet to do so have until 1 p.m. on Monday, according to the agency's release announcing the election earlier this month.

Green Party candidate Gordon Beddome, running in the riding of Spruce Woods, disclosed a conviction he wrote happened roughly 52 years ago.

"Some friends and I [were] arrested with an open case of beer in Riding Mountain National Park. We spent the night in the Onanole jail and [were] released the following morning," he wrote. "I was later charged with illegal possession."

Another Green Party candidate, David Nickarz, running in Wolseley, reported a conviction for criminal contempt of B.C.'s Supreme Court in 1994. Nickarz said the charge related to non-violent civil disobedience related to blockading logging operations in an old-growth rainforest on Vancouver Island's Clayoquot Sound.

"I was found guilty of criminal contempt and was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine with a deadline or spend 60 days in jail.  The Green party of Canada paid my fine," Nickarz wrote in an email to CBC.

"Greens seek to take the high ground, and focus on a positive campaign," Green Party leader James Beddome wrote in a statement to CBC. ​​​​

"Manitobans expect better than this from their government, and they deserve better. The primary role of government is to work collaboratively to find the best solution to the critical issue we are facing. We want to highlight our bold vision for real solutions that would reduce poverty, address climate change, and improve healthcare."

The previous convictions of NDP Leader Wab Kinew have been fodder for a series of ads by the Progressive Conservative party, including a website called Wab Risk and a series of videos. The videos raise questions about the convictions as well as stayed charges of domestic assault, which Kinew has denied.

In a news release Saturday, the party reiterated criticisms of Kinew.

"Only one party leader has disclosed a criminal conviction under the new disclosure rules — the NDP's Wab Kinew," the release says.

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