Former Manitoba NDP cabinet minister Steve Ashton rejected from upcoming election

Steve Ashton Manitoba NDP politics
Jeremy Desrochers / Global News / File

A longtime former Manitoba NDP cabinet minister is being barred from running for the party in the coming election, according to one of his supporters.

Steve Ashton held the Thompson seat for 35 years before losing to a Progressive Conservative in 2016.

Blair Hudson, a Thompson representative on the NDP’s provincial council, says Ashton submitted a nomination bid for the upcoming election, but was rejected by the party’s candidate selection committee.

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Hudson says Ashton has an appeal hearing tomorrow before the party’s executive.

Hudson says he believes the rejection is a sign of ongoing bitterness from the NDP leadership race in 2017, when Ashton finished second to Wab Kinew.

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Ashton has not responded to requests for comment.

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Officials at NDP headquarters would only say that the candidate selection process is done by an arm’s-length group, not by the leader or other elected officials.

NDP provincial secretary Tim Johnson says the party cannot comment further, in order to respect the privacy of prospective candidates.