December 23, 2014 1:22 pm
Updated: December 23, 2014 8:00 pm

Steve Ashton promises a referendum on the PST hike

Manitoba MLA Steve Ashton stepped down from cabinet before becoming a candidate for the NDP leadership.

Tamara Forlanski / Global News

WINNIPEG – Premier Greg Selinger made Ron Kostyshyn infrastructure and transportation minister as Steve Ashton officially entered the Manitoba NDP leadership race Tuesday.

Ashton resigned from cabinet Monday to run in a leadership race against Selinger, who called the vote after his leadership was challenged by five cabinet ministers in late October.

READ MORE: Steve Ashton enters Manitoba NDP leadership race

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Ashton promised to hold a referendum on the government’s recent sales tax increase if he becomes leader of the NDP and premier. The NDP government hiked the tax last year by one percentage point while changing legislation that required it to hold a referendum first.

Ashton said he would hold a vote on whether to eliminate, maintain or revise the tax hike.

Kostyshyn, who represents the riding of Swan River, will keep his role as agriculture, food and rural development minister. Mineral Resources Minister Dave Chomiak (Kildonan) will become house leader, a position Ashton also held until Monday.

Ashton joins former cabinet colleague Theresa Oswald, one of five cabinet ministers who resigned after publicly criticizing Selinger’s leadership, in the attempt to oust the Manitoba premier from his job.

Selinger hasn’t filed his paperwork yet but has said he will fight to keep his job.

READ MORE: Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger determined to fight for job

NDP delegates vote for a leader March 8. The new leader will become premier of Manitoba.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2014 Shaw Media

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