Skeena MP ponders shot at leader’s job

THE NORTHWEST could have a national party leader to call its own and, if he has his way, a prime minster, too.

SKEENA NDP MP Nathan Cullen shows son Elliott a collection of historical campaign posters on the wall of his Terrace campaign office on election day this spring. Jim Fulton was an MP and Guno held provincial office for the NDP.

THE NORTHWEST could have a national party leader to call its own and, if he has his way, a prime minster, too.

Skeena NDP MP Nathan Cullen is spending the next couple of weeks thinking about running for job left vacant when Jack Layton passed away last month.

Cullen said party members are now thinking about a leadership race after first getting over the shock of Layton’s death from cancer.

“I’ve been thinking about it for the last few days. I’m going to spend a couple of weeks and see if it’s the right fit,” said Cullen late last week.

“I’ve always admired folks who’ve taken on the role but it’s a huge commitment.”

Cullen said he was a longtime friend of Layton and was expecting to have years ahead of Layton as federal NDP party leader and maybe even as prime minster.

“For the first time I can legitimately say this is what it’s about,” he said about the next federal election and the possibility of the NDP topping the polls.

“It’s got that kind of significance to it,” he said about the next federal election.

Cullen said he would develop a more collaboratative approach to running the federal government, a trait now missing under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “It would have to be. It’s not only my nature but it’s the right kind of leadership,” Cullen said of his style.

When the provincial NDP leadership came up for grabs last year, Cullen received emails from around the province urging him to run.

But Cullen cited unfinished commitments to his federal constituents and family responsibilities as the father of infant twin boys as the key reasons for his decision.

Cullen said it was important to complete the projects he was working on, and not to use his political position as a stepping stone to another position. But with the federal leadership, he says he wants to give it proper consideration first and speak to his wife.

“I do want to make the call quite soon,” he said in estimating the leadership race will officially begin next spring.

Cullen imagines that, as federal NDP leader, he would spend less time in the constituency here and possible have less parliamentary work.

“I treat working the northwest and time in the northwest as sacred. You never want to lose touch with the people you represent,” he said.

As for how well he speaks French, it’s okay but he’s working on it.

“A reporter in Ottawa said my French is as good as Chretien’s English,” he said, adding his French teacher grimaces at his grammar.

Cullen doesn’t think a challenge of the federal leadership would be to keep the Quebec NDP MPs on side with the national party. It’s been thought by some that Quebec voted more for Layton than the NDP but Cullen disagrees.

“…but they also knew what Jack represented and what they stand for,” he said, adding the NDP social democratic philosophy has been in line with Quebecers for a long time.

“One thing out of all of this is I get to bring the issues of Skeena to the national stage even more,” he said if he were to become national NDP leader.

“As we begin to debate what kind of leader the party wants and the country wants, where you come from is part of that dialogue.”

 

Cullen is among six or seven people said to be thinking of campaigning for the national leadership.

 

 

Just Posted

Incumbents and acclaimed mayors win elections all across B.C.’s north

Fraser Lake saw their first female mayor elected

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Six cattle killed on Hungry Hill

After a brief closure Friday the highway is now open to traffic.

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Houston senior brings home gold medal

Golfer Andy Grobins wins gold at the 55+ BC Games

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Most Read