Cullen visits, islander to run for Rhinos

  • Apr. 6, 2011 4:00 p.m.

NDP candidate Nathan Cullen was on the islands this week as part of the campaign leading up to the federal election May 2. Mr. Cullen, who has been the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley since 2004, arrived in Masset Tuesday afternoon. From there, he made his way south, campaigning in all communities, including a stop at the Job Fair in Queen Charlotte on Wednesday, then heading back to the mainland Thursday. “It’s going to be a whirlwindy kind of thing,” he told the Observer Monday. Eight days into the campaign, Mr. Cullen said he had already visited about 16 communities in the vast riding, putting 1,700 km on the odometer in his car-share Prius. This is Mr. Cullen’s fourth campaign, and he said it feels slightly different from previous ones. His opponents have been slower to come forward (the Liberals were without a candidate until a couple of days ago), and it seems that some communities in the riding are doing well economically. “It’s much more hopeful,” he said. “But the riding is so diverse… The issues coming up really vary from community to community.” Enbridge and the pipeline it wants to build from the tar sands to Kitimat is one issue that’s hot throughout the riding. Mr. Cullen said it seems people have made up their minds on the pipeline, with about two-thirds firmly opposed, and about 10 to 20 percent supporting it. Voters are not thrilled to be having another federal election, he said. But they do become more sympathetic when he explains what led up to the election call. The NDP offered the minority Conservative government a deal on the budget, but they refused, Mr. Cullen said. The Conservatives were also found in contempt of parliament for hiding spending. The issue is complex, Mr. Cullen said, but it boils down to the Conservatives hiding the amounts they plan to spend on prisons and fighter planes. Without these figures, it was difficult to make sense of the budget, he said. “To be responsible, you have to know what you are voting on,” he said. “It was unprecedented and dangerous… As a principle, I feel very comfortable saying I will not vote on a budget blindly.” Meanwhile, for the first time in many years, it looks like there will be an islander on the ballot. Laurence Knowles of Masset said he intends to run for the Rhino Party, and will be heading to Rupert Thursday to file his nomination papers and pay the nomination fee. He hasn’t raised the entire $1,000 yet, but said he was optimistic he’d find donors. Mr. Knowles said he got the idea of running from “watching the news and listening to all the bullshit… I’ve been missing the Rhino Party, because they have some humour.” Unemployed at the moment, Mr. Knowles said he will be campaigning on the islands and trying to get over to the mainland. One of his campaign platforms, he said, is a promise that if elected he will “kick Haida Gwaii out of Canada”. He’s also interested in generating revenue for the region by producing pornography here. “We’re after the protest vote,” he explained. In other election news, the Liberal Party has finally found a candidate willing to run in this riding: a 22-year-old political science student from UBC named Kyle Warwick. Mr. Warwick lives in Vancouver and won’t be able to get up to the riding until this weekend at the earliest, and likely not until April 20. He described himself as a very keen Liberal who has been an active volunteer for the past 10 years. He has worked on political campaigns before, at the municipal, provincial and federal level, most recently as a volunteer for Christy Clark’s leadership campaign. He said he’s not worried about the size of the riding, or the fact that he has no personal connection to it. “I do think it’s going to be tough, but it’s an exciting opportunity,” he said. “I’m aware that it’s a hard riding, for sure. I don’t have any illusions, but I am still going to run the strongest campaign that I can.” Mr. Warwick said he enjoys listening to people and plans to do a lot of listening rather than talking while on the campaign trail. “I understand the history of the riding, I understand the fact the other candidates have a lot more experience,” he said. “I think that some people might be resistant but it’s important for people to have a chance to vote for the Liberal Party.” The Observer made several phone calls but was not able to get hold of Conservative candidate Clay Harmon. His campaign office said Mr. Harmon may be visiting the islands around April 16-17. The Observer did talk to Christian Heritage Party candidate Rod Taylor and Green Party candidate Roger Benham. We’ll have more information about those candidates next week.

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii Sea Cadets set sail

Some young salts joined the Remembrance Day parade in Queen Charlotte last… Continue reading

Rough seas delay Prince Rupert/Haida Gwaii ferry

Northern Expedition is expected to leave Prince Rupert for Haida Gwaii at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 13

In Pictures: Remembrance Day in Queen Charlotte

Drums, bells and bagpipes sounded across Haida Gwaii this Remembrance Day, which… Continue reading

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

North Coast figure skater to star in Dancing On Ice

Carlotta Edwards learned to skate in Prince Rupert, before becoming a star with millions of viewers

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

‘Targeted incident’ leads to death of Quesnel man

One man died of life-threatening injuries on Nov. 8

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Most Read