By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG – Manitoba New Democrats are meeting this weekend to try to heal rifts within the party and to agree on how to choose their next leader.
The party is to elect a leader in September to replace former premier Greg Selinger, who stepped down after last year’s election loss.
This weekend, the party will try to settle a dispute between two factions — those who want every party member to have a vote and those who want a delegate system with limits on how many votes big constituencies are given.
Former cabinet minister Steve Ashton, who has twice run unsuccessfully for the leadership and is not ruling out another run, has been pushing for one-member-one-vote.
Many party members, along with union leaders, favour the delegate system.
NDP interim leader Flor Marcelino has said the party remains divided following last year’s election loss and must reunite to rebuild.
The party also is to debate new rules that would reduce the chance of an internal revolt like the one Selinger faced in 2014, when five cabinet ministers called on him to resign.
Unlike many other parties, the Manitoba NDP does not force its leaders to face a vote on their performance at party conventions. A party committee is proposing an automatic leadership review after every election that the NDP does not win.
The party has struggled to raise funds since the election and has lost two of the 14 seats they won.
Former cabinet minister Kevin Chief quit in January to pursue a job in the private sector, while another former minister, Mohinder Saran, was kicked out of caucus after he was accused of sexually harassing a staff member. Saran denied the accusation and said he was the victim of character assassination.