What we know so far about Wab Kinew's convictions, stayed charges

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.

Kinew became leader of Manitoba NDP after landslide victory on Sept. 16

Wab Kinew became Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew on Sept. 16 and will be subject to more scrutiny than ever. (Cliff Simpson/CBC)

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 has 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.

Interview with CBC News on Sept. 15, 2017

"I am sorry that me putting my name forward in the public sphere has brought this out into light again and I accept responsibility for that. I also accept responsibility for what I did to contribute to the end of our relationship, but I can't accept responsibility for things I did not do.

"No one comes forward to make an accusation lightly, and this person was very important to me at one time in my life and I feel a lot of compassion for them."

"I've been very open and honest that I was in a difficult period in my life, when I was in my early 20s. The person who is running to lead the NDP and who may one day get the honour to run for premier of Manitoba is the person that I am today, it's not the man that I was when I was 20 or 21 years old."

Interview on The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti, Sept. 20, 2017

RAW: Wab Kinew anticipates attack ads

6 years ago
Duration 0:24
RAW: Wab Kinew anticipates attack ads

On accepting responsibility:

"With respect to, you know, the people who have spoken to the media, this is a person, and this is a family that was very important to me at one time in my life and I have been very clear about that this was investigated and dropped. But it's also clear to me that things are unresolved between us. And in acknowledging that I was not in a good place in my life at the time, I also accept that I did things to hurt them emotionally, that I did things to lead to them suffering today. This is now being brought out into view again because I chose to put my name on a ballot and I do accept responsibility for those things that I did to contribute to their suffering.  And I am sorry for that."

On domestic abuse charges:
"That did not happen. But at the same time, I also recognize that I must've hurt this family on an emotional level. I probably scared them.

"I'm not quite sure about all the emotions that they're going through, but clearly things are unresolved, and I do accept responsibility for that. Because I know that I was not in the best place in my life. And so I am, you know, thinking about these things and trying to find a way to move forward in a good way. "
On being an ally:
"Since I've been an elected official especially, but also going back a  few years into my time at the university world, I have been called upon to help people who filed complaints or who've had things happen to them, and I'll continue to do that, because I do understand that there are real barriers to women and to other victims of things like harassment or violence.

"There's real barriers to them getting justice and that there are I think times when court processes or other complaint procedures are adversarial, and that's a real issue.… I do recognize that I'm a public figure and people are going to have questions about my character and my ability to lead. And so I do think that there are legitimate questions being asked.

"I also recognize that because this conversation is so emotionally charged that it's not going to be up to me to decide when it's over. And it is up to me to show up and to continue to try and be a part of these conversations that need to take place so that we can take our society to having a consent culture and to being free of violence and harassment and intimidation. And so I'll continue to be a part of those conversations."

RAW: NDP's Greg Selinger and Wab Kinew respond to Twitter controversy

8 years ago
Duration 4:03
New Democratic candidate and former CBC broadcaster Wab Kinew refused to back down Friday after Manitoba Liberals called for the NDP to drop him as a candidate over tweets they call "hurtful" and "damaging."

On believing survivors:
"I've been someone who's said 'I believe victims,' because I do recognize the adversarial nature of a lot of complaint processes and how the courts can be, and I have spoken about how there is no acceptable level of violence against women in our society.

"So when we say 'I believe victims' or something to that effect, it's born out of that truth, that there is a barrier to many people finding justice. At the same time, there's a tension between that and some of our basic civil liberties and human rights, like right to due process, and you know, the presumption of innocence.

"And to me this is, you know, one of the important questions that we're grappling with as a society, which is, 'How do we make a complaint process that is less adversarial towards complainants and yet does continue to respect due process?"

On differing accounts of what happened:

"At the end of the day I accepted responsibility or these instances. Both in court, I accepted responsibility, I accepted responsibility in my book, and when I speak about these things in public I've accepted responsibility for them.

"And what's more, I've put in the work over the years to address the addictions issues, because both of these were incidents where I was intoxicated, to address the addictions issues and also, I think, the underlying character issues that I was living through at the time that led to those kinds of behaviors.

"I have been very open, I have been very honest about where I was at in my life but I've also been very frank about the sort of work that I've needed to put in as an individual, and that has made me a better person today."

Excerpts from The Reason You Walk, 2015

On drunk driving and his refusal of a breathalyzer charge:

"I was drunk at this point, and it crossed my mind to call a cab, but due to either laziness of cheapness I made a stupid decision and said I would drive.

"We hopped into my truck and headed for downtown Winnipeg.… The cops caught up with me as I turned into a downtown parking lot. Glass exploded everywhere as the nightstick smashed through the driver's side window. The next thing I knew, I was face down on the pavement, handcuffs on my wrists."

On taxicab assault:

"[My friends and I] hopped into a cab, then hopped out without paying. The driver caught up with us and pushed me. I turned and shoved him back. A passing cabbie saw what was happening, stopped his taxi, and jumped out to help his fellow driver. He swung and hit me in the face. I grabbed him and swung back.

"We stood in the middle of the street, arms flailing in full-on hockey fight mode. Then the police showed up and tackled me."

On apologizing:

"I would like to apologize to everyone I have hurt along the way, physically or emotionally. I spent part of my life as an angry, self-centred young man. I was wrong and have worked hard to make myself a better member of our society. Still, I pray this apology is accepted."

On misogynistic lyrics:

"I would also like to apologize for misogynistic rap lyrics I have written or performed in the past. At the time I thought it was funny or had shock value. With the epidemic of violence against women, and Indigenous women in particular, there is no excuse for this. We have to do better, all of us, and hip-hop musicians can play an important part by ending the use of terms, images and themes that degrade or disrespect women. I am committed to doing that and encourage other rappers to do so as well."

Facebook letter posted March 5, 2016, responding to homophobic and misogynistic tweets and lyrics

"As you may have heard, my name was brought into the discussion around the resignation of a Liberal candidate due to my own past use of misogynistic and homophobic lyrics in my rap career. I have been upfront about this since before I entered politics and have continued to take ownership over the mistakes I have made.

"To be clear, I apologize fully for these lyrics, accept responsibility for them and am committed to helping bring about the societal change necessary to end misogyny, address gender based discrimination. We need to make sure we are inclusive of our LGBTIQ and two-spirited friends and relatives.
"I am sorry because I know words can hurt and cause real harm.… I have been called to account by my wife, my sister, my mother and other friends and colleagues for my own biases. I have heard these truths and concluded that I need to change my behaviour to be a more positive influence on the world around me. As a result I have been working to make amends."