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Kevin Klein: An error in judgment that is my own, and I acknowledge it.


Kevin Klein talks about his error in judgement, and acknowledges it openly.
Kevin Klein talks about his error in judgement.

Some things take on a life of their own and before you know it those with an agenda seize the opportunity and run with it. At that point truth is no longer the issue, it’s all about the agenda and a singular focus on tearing someone down. Such is the case with the matter about my mother’s family heritage.


So much has been construed by others about my personal investigation into the possibility of having Metis ancestry that I’ve started to question whether truth is even attainable now. The fallout from my journey into my heritage devolved so quickly into a mission by the CBC to target me and dismiss my discovery as brazen political opportunism. But if truth is indeed the yardstick then the CBC’s characterization of me is completely offside.


I have stated previously that my journey to connect with my mother and her family history was a personal one. At no point did I ever intend to leverage any aspect about our family heritage for political gain. Ever since our mother was lost to us tragically, I wanted to learn more about her in part because it helped me honour her.


My late uncle (my mother’s brother) was happy to assist me with my quest and informed me that my mother may have some Indigenous ancestry. Intrigued, I pursued the possibility which led me to information indicating she had mixed Indigenous ancestry out of Ontario. Not fully understanding what that meant I was further directed to an Ontario-based Metis organization to help me refine the finding. Their analysis concluded that my mother, Joanne Winacott, had Indigenous ancestry and by definition was Metis. They issued Metis status cards as a result.


Unbeknownst to me at the time, the Manitoba Metis Federation maintains its own definition and criteria that is the final word on Red River Metis status. That's fine, the situation of my family, with mixed ancestry originating from another province, falls outside of how they define their community.


As I’m sure anyone can appreciate the discovery of the ancestry of a lost loved one is invigorating if nothing else because it provides a sense of identity and brings you closer to them. It’s like finding something that was lost – something my mother may never have known but that I can share with her now and always.


I had no reason to disbelieve the information. It did not matter what heritage was discovered – it was a way to honour my mother and I was proud. It was about her, not me.

And why wouldn’t I want to tell the world who she was? She was amazing and I got my chance in life because of her. If she was Metis then so was I – it was a wonderful discovery and I wanted to share it.


But how wrong I was to want that. When I finally disclosed this information, I was not in any position to leverage it for personal or political gain. It was only later when I ran for election provincially that the information was questioned by the CBC.


I am not naïve to the blood sport that is provincial politics but I clearly did not expect to be the target of relentless CBC attacks that would maliciously construct a narrative that I was deviously deceiving the public for political gain.


In the end, I cannot say with absolute certainty whether the conclusions of my research into my mother’s ancestry are accurate or if the source was credible. All I know is that I did not, or could not, have known otherwise. And that’s essentially the point – no one can know otherwise. Even my attackers have fallen well short on their evidence and they certainly don’t hold any high ground on motive.


The debate about what is true is not one to be had publicly – I see that now. Looking back, it would have been best if I had kept my journey about my mother’s heritage personal and private. I understand other perspectives now and commit to removing the matter from public discussion.


And finally, I regret the upheaval that this matter has caused. I was mistaken to declare what I did without more certainty. That error in judgment is my own, and I acknowledge it.


I am sorry, if in the process anyone was offended. My intent was never to insult – only to connect.  

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