Steve Ashton

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The Honourable
Steve Ashton
Manitoba Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation
In office
November 3, 2009 – December 22, 2014
Preceded by Ron Lemieux
Manitoba Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
In office
September 21, 2006 – September 14, 2009
Preceded by Scott Smith
Succeeded by Ron Lemieux
Manitoba Minister of Water Stewardship
In office
November 4, 2003 – September 21, 2006
Preceded by new portfolio
Succeeded by Christine Melnick
Manitoba Minister of Labour and Immigration
In office
June 25, 2003 – November 4, 2003
Preceded by Becky Barrett
Succeeded by Nancy Allan
Manitoba Minister of Conservation
In office
September 25, 2002 – November 4, 2003
Preceded by Oscar Lathlin
Succeeded by Stan Struthers
Manitoba Minister of Transportation and Government Services
In office
January 17, 2001 – September 25, 2002
Preceded by new portfolio
Succeeded by Scott Smith
Manitoba Minister of Highways and Government Services
In office
October 5, 1999 – January 17, 2001
Preceded by new portfolio
Succeeded by poltfolio abolished
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
Assumed office
November 17, 1981
Preceded by Ken MacMaster
Constituency Thompson
President of the University of Manitoba Students' Union
In office
Personal details
Born (1956-02-29) February 29, 1956 (age 59)
Surrey, England
Political party New Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Hariklia Dimitrakopoulou-Ashton (1979- )
Children Niki Ashton
Alexander Ashton
Alma mater University of Manitoba
Lakehead University

Steven John "Steve" Ashton (born February 29, 1956 in Surrey, England) is a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He is a long-serving member of the Manitoba legislature,[1] and was a long-time cabinet minister in the New Democratic Party governments of Gary Doer and Greg Selinger.[2] He resigned from cabinet on December 22, 2014 to challenge Selinger for the leadership of the party. Ashton was eliminated from the race, after finishing last on the first ballot at the NDP leadership convention. Selinger was reelected party leader on the second ballot.

Early life[edit]

The son of John Stewart Ashton and Nedra May Childs,[3] he moved with his family to Thompson, in northern Manitoba, at age eleven. He was educated at R.D. Parker Collegiate in that community, the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He was President of the University of Manitoba Students' Union in 1978-79 and has lectured in Economics for the former Inter Universities North in Thompson and Cross Lake.[1]

Political career[edit]

Ashton was first elected to the Manitoba legislature in the 1981 provincial election, defeating Progressive Conservative incumbent Ken MacMaster by 72 votes in the constituency of Thompson. At the time of his first election, Ashton was involved in an INCO strike in the Thompson area as a member of the United Steelworkers of America. He was re-elected in the 1986 election by a greater margin. Ashton did not serve in the cabinet of Howard Pawley.[4]

The NDP were defeated in the provincial election of 1988, although Ashton won his own riding by a comfortable margin. He would later serve as House Leader for the NDP in opposition, and was easily re-elected in the provincial elections of 1990, 1995 and 1999.[4] In 1995, he supported Lorne Nystrom's bid to lead the federal New Democratic Party.


When NDP leader Gary Doer became Premier of Manitoba in October 1999, Ashton was appointed Minister of Highways and Government Services. On July 4, 2000, he was charged with administration of the Gaming Control Act; his ministry was renamed as Transportation and Government Services on January 17, 2001. Following a cabinet shuffle on September 25, 2002, Ashton became Minister of Conservation (in which capacity he argued for national approval of the Kyoto Accord on climate change). On June 25, 2003, he was also made Minister of Labour and Immigration with responsibility for Multiculturalism and administration of the Worker's Compensation Act.[2]

In 2003, Ashton supported Bill Blaikie's campaign to become leader of the federal NDP.

Ashton was re-elected in the 2003 election with over 82% of the vote in his constituency. On November 4, 2003, he was named as the province's first Minister of Water Stewardship[2] (created after highly publicized water contamination tragedies in Walkerton, Ontario and North Battleford, Saskatchewan).

Ashton was re-elected in the 2007 provincial election and in September 2007 he was appointed Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Organization.[2]

On September 4, 2009, Ashton announced his candidacy to succeed Gary Doer as leader of the Manitoba NDP in the 2009 leadership election and ran on a platform advocating the party's return to its social justice and labour roots.[4][5] Ashton placed second behind Greg Selinger with 34.2% of the vote.

Upon Greg Selinger's election as premier, Ashton was made Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, with the added responsibilities of Emergency Measures and the administration of the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation Act. He is also the lead minister for Canada-Manitoba Infrastructure programs.[2]

Ashton resigned from cabinet on December 22, 2014 in order to challenge Selinger in the 2015 Manitoba NDP leadership election.[6]

Personal life[edit]

In 1979, Ashton married Hariklia[3] "Hari" Dimitrakopoulou, and the couple have two children, Niki and Alexander.[1] His daughter, Niki Ashton, is also a politician and is the New Democratic Party Member of Parliament for the riding of Churchill.[7]

Ashton is also Secretary of the Canadian Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, seeking the return of the treasured sculptures from Britain to Greece. He speaks Greek, and has written on the political culture of that nation.[4]

Electoral results[edit]

New Democratic Party of Manitoba leadership election, 2009
Candidate Votes Percentage
Greg Selinger 1,317 65.75%
Steve Ashton 685 34.20%
Spoiled ballots 1 0.05%
Total 2,003 100.00%

Manitoba general election, 2007: Thompson
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Steve Ashton 3,036 73.44 $9,356.43
Liberal Kenny Braun 651 15.89 $7,377.03
     Progressive Conservative Cory Phillips 416 10.06 $688.99
Total valid votes 4,108 99.37
Rejected and declined votes 26
Turnout 4,134 39.81
Registered voters 10,384


Manitoba general election, 1999: Thompson
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Steve Ashton 3,793 70.58 $7,846.00
     Progressive Conservative Cecil Thorne 1,306 24.03 $20,487.52
Liberal Pascal Bighetty 244 4.54 $2,661.92
Total valid votes 5,343 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 31
Turnout 5,374 57.48
Registered voters 9,879



  1. ^ a b c "Steven Ashton". Alumni Awards. Lakehead University. 2011. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "MLA Biographies - Living". Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  3. ^ a b Normandin, Pierre G (1984). Canadian Parliamentary Guide. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Steve Ashton: Manitoba’s longest-serving MLA since 1981 resigns from cabinet to seek premiership". Thompson Citizen. September 9, 2009. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  5. ^ "Minister Steve Ashton resigns, says he will seek leadership of Manitoba NDP". Prince George Citizen. December 22, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ "BREAKING: Steve Ashton enters Manitoba NDP leadership rac". Global News. December 22, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Steve Ashton". Lakehead Alumni. Lakehead University. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  8. ^ - 2007 results
  9. ^ - 1999 Results

External links[edit]