“I unfortunately made comments and shared an email that caused offence,” Wowchuk said in his statement. “I deeply regret doing so and I have taken full responsibility for my actions." He added he found the workplace sensitivity training he was required to attend, "extremely valuable".
Despite his transgressions, and the long list of complaints that didn't register as technical breaches of the workplace protocols about sexism and harassment, Brian Pallister signed his nomination papers.
But even as that sordid story emerged Thursday morning, Kinew had already greased the skids underneath his party with his not-an-ultimatum to a town hall on environmental issues scheduled for the evening. And the target of his ire, Winnipeg Free Press columnist Shannon Sampert made sure everyone knew the score.
"Wab Kinew won't participate on tonight panel on the environment if I am a moderator so I got asked to step down" she told everyone on Twitter at noon. "I guess he didn't like my columns."
It quicky emerged that Sampert wasn't the first woman that Kinew refused to be questioned by.APTN news host Melissa Ridgen piped up that Kinew had pulled the same stunt over a planned sit-down TV interview.
"Wab Kinew also wouldn't do a sit-down interview with APTN National News this summer unless we guaranteed it was a man asking the questions.
Now he refused to attend an environmental forum unless the female moderator was removed."
Both Sampert and Ridgen have been pointed critics of Kinew's nuanced denial he had assaulted then-spouse Tara Hart in 2003, and have assailed his attempt to straddle the line on whether victims of domestic violence are to be believed, or just those who don't name him as their abuser.
Given that a police report was filed and 2 charges were laid against Kinew- and then dropped without Hart's knowledge - he has never been able to shake the controversy.
Sampert has roasted Kinew and the NDP for various offensive attitudes and behaviors towards women staffers and party members, including the antics of "Minister Tickles" Stan Struthers and she called the party a dumpster fire in a 2018 column entitled "Women deserve better than the current NDP."
Sampert has now set her Twitter account to private. By the time she did, there was already significant backlash online towards Kinew - and to the organizers of the panel including the Green Action Centre, Bike Winnipeg and the Manitoba Public Health Association for bending to his demands.
A Free Press report stated,
"NDP Leader Wab Kinew and Eric Reder, one of the forum’s organizers with the Wilderness Committee, acknowledged there were conversations between the party and organizers about her role."