Five candidates signed up in Churchill-Keewatinook Aski

Northern residents are beginning to learn who is going to be on the ballot for the next federal election.

Five candidates have now been confirmed for the riding of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, the riding that encompasses all of northern Manitoba and Flin Flon.

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Incumbent NDP MP Niki Ashton will run for re-election, having confirmed her intention to run again last October. Ashton will run for her fourth consecutive term representing the northern riding, having won elections in 2008, 2011 and 2015.

During her time in office, Ashton ran for the NDP’s leadership twice, both in 2012 and in 2017, placing third behind eventual winner Jagmeet Singh and Charlie Angus in 2017. Ashton served in a number of shadow cabinet roles for the NDP, including as the party’s critic on jobs, employment and workforce development. Ashton previously served as the chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

According to Elections Canada, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) chose Cyara Bird as the party’s candidate in the riding May 4. The party does not currently have Bird listed on its website as a confirmed candidate and has not issued an announcement confirming Bird’s candidacy.

Bird was a part of the Daughters of the Vote campaign, representing the Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa riding. Bird classified herself in a Daughters of the Vote bio as “a conservative with a passion for First Nations issues.” During her involvement through the Daughters of the Vote program, Byrd spoke to members of the federal Standing Committee on Finance in April, discussing rural mental health, postpartum depression and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Canadian jails.

Bird’s nomination contest lists her official address as being in Seven Sisters Falls, Man. Her home is listed as the Little Black River First Nation, located north of Powerview-Pine Falls.

The federal Liberals officially confirmed their representative July 3, choosing Judy Klassen. Klassen, currently an MLA representing the provincial riding of Kewatinook for the Manitoba Liberal Party and former interim leader of the provincial party, was mentioned in a Liberal Party news release as “the only qualified nomination contestant to have successfully completed the nomination application process.” Klassen was acclaimed as Liberal candidate at an event July 3 in her hometown of St. Theresa Point.

The federal Green Party named Ralph McLean its candidate. McLean is a former environmental monitor in the oil and gas industry who was born in The Pas. He is known for his work with the Royal Canadian Legion and with regional history, documenting the lives of Canadian soldiers and creating a database of northern cemeteries, including the final resting places for children who died at residential schools. McLean also writes a history column for the Opasquia Times, The Pas’ local newspaper.

McLean’s candidacy has been confirmed by the Green Party, but official nomination documents have not been posted online by Elections Canada.

The brand new People’s Party of Canada (PPC) also nominated a candidate for the northern Manitoba riding, choosing Kenneth Klyne to run as the party’s representative on May 18. Both Elections Canada and the PPC website have confirmed Klyne will represent the party in the next election.

While an official election date has not yet been set, the vote will take place either on or before Oct. 21.

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