Niki Ashton

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Niki Ashton
Niki Ashton 2012-02-12.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski
Assumed office
October 19, 2015
Preceded by Riding Established
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Churchill
In office
October 14, 2008 – October 19, 2015
Preceded by Tina Keeper
Succeeded by Riding Abolished
Chair of the Standing Committee on
Status of Women
In office
June 21, 2011 – November 14, 2011
Minister Rona Ambrose
Preceded by Hedy Fry
Succeeded by Irene Mathyssen
Personal details
Born Niki Christina Ashton
(1982-09-09) September 9, 1982 (age 35)
Thompson, Manitoba
Political party New Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Ryan Barker (m. 2011–2017)
Domestic partner Bruce Moncur[1]
Alma mater
Occupation University lecturer, researcher

Niki Christina Ashton MP (born September 9, 1982) is a Canadian politician. She is the New Democratic Member of Parliament for the federal electoral district of Churchill—Keewatinook Aski in Manitoba, Canada. She was first elected in the 2008 federal election. Ashton announced her intention to run for the leadership of the federal NDP on March 7, 2017.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ashton was born in Thompson, Manitoba.[3] She is the daughter of Hariklia (Dimitrakopoulou) and former Manitoba provincial NDP cabinet minister Steve Ashton. Her father is English-born, and her mother is of Greek descent. She attended École Riverside School and R. D. Parker Collegiate. She later attended the Li Po Chun United World College in Hong Kong. She has a B.A in Global Political Economy from the University of Manitoba, an M.A in International Affairs from Carleton University[4] and is currently in the process of completing her PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies at the Art Mauro Centre at the University of Manitoba. She has been an instructor at the University College of the North.[5]

She studied human rights and social justice at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs[6] and was also awarded the Ahmed Ali Hashi Human Rights Scholarship for her work.[citation needed]

In 2004 she was a coordinator and promoter of volunteering at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. With her knowledge of Greek she assisted the Canadian and Chinese Olympic teams.[7]


Ashton in 2012

In 2005, she defeated incumbent New Democratic Party Member of Parliament Bev Desjarlais for the NDP nomination due, in part, to the same-sex marriage issue after Desjarlais broke party ranks to vote against the Civil Marriage Act. Desjarlais subsequently quit the party and sat as an independent for the remainder of her term; she ran against Ashton as an independent candidate in the election in the Churchill riding in the 2006 Canadian federal election.[8] Ashton's major themes in her campaign included getting federal funding for the University College of the North, as well as getting a federal government northern development agreement.

Although the labour unions in Thompson endorsed Ashton,[9] the NDP vote nevertheless split between Ashton and Desjarlais, and the riding was won by Liberal Party candidate Tina Keeper.[10]

Ashton defeated Keeper in the 2008 election to regain the riding for the NDP.

On November 7, 2011, in Montreal, Ashton launched her campaign as the ninth person to join the 2012 NDP leadership race.[11] At the age of 29, she was the youngest of the candidates. She placed seventh with 5.7% of the vote at the March 24, 2012 leadership election and was eliminated on the first ballot.

Since first being elected in 2008, Ashton was elected as the Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women in the 40th Parliament of Canada, as has served as the NDP Post-Secondary and Youth critic, as the Rural and Community Development critic and from 2012 to 2014 as the Status of Women Critic. On January 23, 2015, Ashton was appointed as the Aboriginal Affairs Critic in Canada's Official Opposition.[12]

After the 2015 federal election, Ashton was appointed the NDP critic for Jobs, Employment and Workforce Development in the 42nd Canadian Parliament.[13]

Ashton announced her candidacy for the 2017 NDP leadership election on March 7, 2017.[14] She placed third in the October 1, 2017 election, with 17.4% of the vote, just over 1,000 votes behind runner up Charlie Angus. Jagmeet Singh was elected leader on the first ballot.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Ashton speaks Greek,[7] French, English and Spanish fluently. In 2011 it was reported that she was also studying Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, and Cree.[16][not in citation given]

Ashton married Ryan Barker in 2011. They separated in 2015 and divorced in 2017.[17]

In May 2017, Ashton announced that she was pregnant. She gave birth to twin boys in November 2017.[18] She has stated that "Like millions of Canadian women I will carry on my work", and continued with her leadership campaign.[19][20]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015: Churchill—Keewatinook Aski
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Niki Ashton 13,487 45.04 -6.66
Liberal Rebecca Chartrand 12,575 42.00 +22.14
Conservative Kyle G. Mirecki 3,090 10.32 -15.81
Green August Hastmann 537 1.79 -0.53
Libertarian Zachary Linnick 255 0.85
Total valid votes/Expense limit 29,944 100.0     $232,138.03
Total rejected ballots 252
Turnout 30,196
Eligible voters 49,036
New Democratic hold Swing -14.4%
Source: Elections Canada[21][22]
Canadian federal election, 2011: Churchill
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Niki Ashton 10,262 51.1% +3.34%
Conservative Wally Daudrich 5,256 26.2% +5.7%
Liberal Sydney Garrioch 4,087 20.4% -8.34%
Green Alberteen Spence 471 2.3% -0.99%
Total valid votes/Expense limit 20,076 100.00% -
Total rejected ballots 107
Turnout 20,183
New Democratic hold Swing -1.18%
Canadian federal election, 2008: Churchill
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
New Democratic Niki Ashton 8,735 47.40% +18.96%
Liberal Tina Keeper 5,313 28.83% -11.84%
Conservative Wally Daudrich 3,774 20.48% +8.93%
Green Saara Harvie 606 3.29% +1.68%
Total valid votes 18,428 100.00%
Total rejected ballots
Turnout  %
New Democratic gain from Liberal Swing +15.4%
Canadian federal election, 2006: Churchill
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Tina Keeper 10,159 40.67% +2.32% $75,179
New Democratic Niki Ashton 7,103 28.44% -14.99% $70,290
Independent Bev Desjarlais 4,283 17.15% -26.28% $23,042
Conservative Nazir Ahmad 2,886 11.55% -3.57% $23,875
Green Jeff Fountain 401 1.61% -1.41% $2,837
Independent Brad Bodnar 146 0.58% $68.69
Total valid votes 100.00%
Total rejected ballots
Turnout 24,978 55.53%
Liberal gain from New Democratic Swing +8.66%


  1. ^
  2. ^ Harris, Kathleen (March 7, 2017). "Niki Ashton launches NDP leadership bid with pledge to fight inequality, injustice". CBC News. Retrieved May 16, 2017. 
  3. ^ Stone, Laura (March 24, 2012). "Niki Ashton". Toronto Star. p. A26. 
  4. ^ "Centre for Security and Defence Studies - Annual Report 2004-05" (PDF). Carleton University. Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. April 1, 2005. p. 20. Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  5. ^ "About Niki Ashton". Niki Ashton. New Democratic Party. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Niki Ashton - Faculty of Public Affairs". Carleton University. May 18, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "Beyond Politics - Niki Ashton". CPAC. 
  8. ^ "Churchill MP quits NDP after nomination loss". CBC News. October 18, 2005. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  9. ^ "NDP Candidate Niki Ashton Backed by Unions". Manitoba Federation of Labour. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Canada Votes 2006 - Candidates & Ridings - 216 Churchill". CBC News. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Niki Ashton vows 'new politics' in NDP leadership bid". CBC News. November 7, 2011. 
  13. ^ Kirkup, Kristy (12 November 2015). "Tom Mulcair taps Nathan Cullen, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron for top critic roles". CBC News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  14. ^ Ballingall, Alex (March 7, 2017). "Manitoba's Niki Ashton launches NDP leadership bid". Toronto Star. Retrieved March 8, 2017. 
  15. ^ Ballingball, Alex (1 October 2017). "Jagmeet Singh wins the NDP leadership race". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 1 October 2017. 
  16. ^ Smith, Joanna (November 7, 2011). "Niki Ashton joins NDP leadership race". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 24, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Registry Search Results - Ashton, Niki C vs Barker, Ryan G". Manitoba Justice. February 1, 2017. Retrieved May 16, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Niki Ashton Has Twin Boys". La Pas Online. Retrieved January 18, 2018. 
  19. ^ "Niki Ashton says she's pregnant, pressing on with NDP leadership bid". CBC News. May 29, 2017. 
  20. ^ Ballingall, Alex (May 29, 2017). "NDP leadership contender Niki Ashton announces she's pregnant". Toronto Star. Retrieved May 29, 2017. 
  21. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, 30 September 2015
  22. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates

External links[edit]