Islanders overwhelmingly supported Nathan Cullen for MP

  • Dec. 15, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is popular across the riding – he swept to a third election victory Oct. 14 with 50 percent of the vote – but he’s even more popular on the islands. Almost 65 percent of the islanders who voted in the federal election marked their ballots for Mr. Cullen, especially impressive given that it was a six-candidate race. Mr. Cullen was the top choice of voters in every community on the islands, collecting more votes than all other candidates combined at every single poll. Support for Mr. Cullen was highest in Old Massett, at 88 percent, and lowest in Port Clements – but even there he collected 51 percent of the votes. That’s a touch higher than the 50 percent he received across the riding, which stretches from here to Vanderhoof. In all, Mr. Cullen received 1,014 votes from islanders, according to the most recent information from Elections Canada. Placing a distant second was Conservative candidate Sharon Smith, with 319 votes here. The Green Party’s Hondo Arendt received 132 votes, Liberal Corinna Morhart 87 votes, the Christian Heritage Party’s Rod Taylor 10, and the Canadian Action Party’s Mary-Etta Goodacre one (in Sandspit). There were 10 rejected ballots on the islands – a somewhat higher percentage of rejected ballots than in the riding as a whole. While Mr. Cullen’s percentage of the vote increased, he received fewer actual votes, both on the islands and across the riding, reflecting a lower voter turnout. In the previous federal election, held in January 2006, a total of 1,840 islanders voted, compared to only 1,570 in this year’s election. The biggest change between the 2006 election and the 2008 election on the islands was in the amount of Liberal support. In 2006, Liberal candidate Gordon Stamp-Vincent received 225 votes here, but this year, only 87 islanders voted for candidate Corinna Morhart. It’s a big change from 2004, when Liberal candidate Miles Richardson (a Skidegate resident) topped the polls on the islands with 721 votes. The plunge in Liberal support appears to have benefitted all three of the other major parties – the Green party increased its percentage support here as well as the actual number of votes, while the NDP and Conservatives both experienced a percentage increase.

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