Election campaign continues for Skeena-Bulkley Valley

In our ongoing coverage on candidates, recently announced Liberal Kyle Warwick and NDP incumbent Nathan Cullen speak on what they believe in.

By Alan S. Hale

Black Press

 

In our ongoing coverage on candidates, recently announced Liberal Kyle Warwick and NDP incumbent Nathan Cullen speak on what they believe in.

Next week, look for what Maggie Braun of the Canadian Action Party and Laurence Knowles of the Rhino Party had to say.

With the election campaign now two weeks old, the Liberal Party of Canada has finally nominated a candidate to run in Skeena-Bulkley Valley against NDP incumbent, Nathan Cullen.

 

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Kyle Warwick, 22, is a fourth-year Political Science student at the University of British Columbia and lives in Vancouver. He is not from the riding, but says he has travelled through it while working in the Yukon for Logan Resources, a company that studies the feasibility of potential mining projects. He says that he won’t pretend that he’s well versed in the issues facing the riding, but he is ready to listen to what voters have to say.

“I’m going to be very receptive to the concerns of people who are from the are. One thing I’m absolutely not going top say is ‘I know what’s best,’ or anything like that, I’m going to hear what people have to say,” says Warwick.

Warwick believes that people should vote for him over the incumbent, Nathan Cullen because he he represents an opportunity to vote for Michael Ignatieff’s  platform, which he says is resonating with Canadian’s across the country.

“As we’ve seen, the Conservatives’ lead in the polls has shrunk from 15 per cent to six per cent in only a week. There’s a Liberal momentum, and I think voting for me is the only real way to make sure these policies come into place.”

This is not Warwick’s first time in politics, he has been actively involved in student politics at his university, having just won an election less than a week ago to be the chief AMS representative for the UBC Arts Undergraduate Society.

Warwick says has been the Liberal candidate for a day and has not yet aquatinted himself with issues such as the Enbrigde Pipeline or the Northwest Transmission Line. He says as a student and life-long Liberal, he is very in favour of the Liberal’s Learning Passport, which promises every highschool student who goes on to university or college a tax-free $1,000; $1,500 for low income students.

“One thing that is crucial for jobs these days . . . is to increase access to education beyond the secondary level. I think in the long to medium term, the education passport will definitely help to achieve that.”

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Nathan Cullen is the NDP incumbent in this election, and has been reelected twice since first being sent to parliament in 2004. In this election, Cullen says he’s running on a platform focusing on jobs, healthcare and trust. Cullen says that he should be reelected because he believes that he has shown that he can be trusted to defend the region’s interests in Ottawa

“I can be trusted. I do what I say I’m going to do. I spend more time on the road visiting and listening to people than anybody has in this position in many years. I feel that I have raised the voice of the northwest consistently and kept us on the map, and that I attract attention and support for our region, which we desperately need,” says Cullen.

Cullen says that the Conservatives can’t be trusted, that have become arrogant and out of touch, and that they put politics ahead of good policy.

“I’m just interested in getting things done, the politics doesn’t excite me. I think this divide the nation strategy from the Conservatives is unfortunate, its not what a Canadian government should be about,” says Cullen.

On the economy, Cullen says that a balance needs to be found between creating jobs and protecting the environment; a balance where the region can push for things it wants, like the Northwest Transmission Lines or expanding container ports, and reject things it believes are too environmentally risky, like the Enbridge pipeline.

Cullen now believes that the pipeline is on its last legs, and would rather push for alternative projects instead of continuing to fight a battle that the he thinks the company has already lost.

“We need alternatives. It’s a bit diabolical to say ‘you must take this or nothing’ and that’s the way some people want to view the Enbridge project. That’s obviously not the case,” says Cullen.

Those alternative economic projects Cullen says he will push for is a revised commercial and sports fishery where commercial fishermen would be able to fish longer throughout the year, a new way of allocating fish and stronger policies for lodges which Cullen says don’t give much back to the local economy.

Another economic initiative Cullen says he will push for is to limit the amount of raw logs that can be shipped out of the region, so that jobs will be created though processing projects. This would require cooperation with the provincial government, but Cullen says to continue to let raw logs leave the region is “a path to nowhere.”

Cullen says the federal government also needs to become an active partner in the region to develop renewable energy project; some of which are already underway without federal government support.

Cullen says that all of these would create jobs for the region, which would not be in danger of being moved over seas.

Cullen criticized the Conservative’s purposed corporate tax cuts for benefiting primarily banks and oil companies that don’t need tax relief, while cutting out small and medium sized businesses.  Cullen says that a set of more narrowly focused tax cuts would benefit the businesses in the region more.