Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Annita McPhee will not be the BC NDP’s candidate for Stikine, despite the party’s equity policy. (Annita McPhee/ Facebook)

A former Tahltan Central Government president says she’s disheartened and disappointed her attempt to run for the B.C. NDP nomination in the Stikine riding was turned down.

Instead, party officials selected former Skeena – Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen to contest the seat which became vacant when longtime NDP MLA Doug Donaldson said he wasn’t running again.

ALSO READ: Local Stikine candidates for the Oct. 24 snap election

Annita McPhee, who served three terms as the president of the Tahltan Central Government, said her candidacy was based on the NDP’s policy which states that when a male MLA retires, he must be replaced by an “equity-seeking” individual, such as a woman, person of colour or member of the LGBTQ2+ community.

“I feel incredibly abused in this process,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I hoped my candidacy would uplift all people, but after what I’ve experienced can only offer deep hurt and disappointment in a party I’ve believed in and supported my whole life.”

A statement from NDP president Craig Keating said that there was a problem with invalid signatures in her application, which she submitted to the party on Friday, Sept. 19.

“The party informed Ms. McPhee of the situation concerning her application and attempted to work with her to address the issue,” said Keating in the statement.

“While these issues were ultimately resolved this morning [Monday, Sept. 21], there was simply not enough time to process the application.”

McPhee ran for the NDP’s nomination in the federal Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding last year when Cullen announced his retirement from federal politics, but ran second to Taylor Bachrach who was then elected in the Oct. 2019 federal election.

She refuted suggestions made by the provincial NDP that following her failed federal bid, she said she would never want to be involved in politics again.

McPhee called those suggestions “hearsay.”

Speaking to reporters during his election call announcement, NDP leader John Horgan said the party contacted 15 people in the Stikine riding to ask if they were interested in running for the party’s nomination.

McPhee said she was disappointed as she was not one of those 15 people.

After reviewing the results of its nomination search on Sept. 14, the party said it asked Cullen, who’s application package was then ultimately approved. Cullen released his nomination intention via Twitter on Sept. 17.

That was two days after McPhee made her first announcement via a Facebook post that she was seeking the nomination.

In a CBC Radio interview Sept. 22, McPhee said Cullen should have known she was also seeking the nomination and that his announcement would run counter to the party’s equity policy.

READ MORE: Citing Stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24


@BenBogstie
ben.bogstie@terracestandard.com

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