Local MP considering run for provincial NDP leadership

  • Jan. 14, 2011 5:00 a.m.

After a flood of emails and calls from influential NDP members and many others, Skeena-Bulkley Valley Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen is thinking about throwing his name in as a provincial NDP leadership candidate. “I’m overwhelmingly in the position I was in before, which was saying thanks, but no thanks, but a lot of people have urged me to do due diligence,” he said to The Observer from his Smithers home. Mr. Cullen, who was holding one of his five-month old twins while his wife Diana was putting down the other, said the appeal is the wide-open race. And he would be coming from outside the current political conversation in BC. “The upside of the tough politics is that this is a renewal moment for the party,” he said. But he has to decide whether the timing is right for him. Not only does he feel a strong commitment to those who voted him into federal office, but he has two very important new members of his family to consider. If he did decide to run, some of his focus would be on democratic reform and getting big money out of politics. Mr. Cullen says he would put the environment and First Nations at the forefront. He’s set himself a deadline of late this week or early next week to decide. He hasn’t spent much time thinking about the logistics of getting a provincial seat yet (his riding is held by NDPer Doug Donaldson), because the more important issue is whether he wants to lead the party. “If you go in you go in to win, you don’t just go in to wave a flag,” he said. He knows all the other NDP leadership contenders and likes them all, but “I wish there were some women in the race,” he said. For the record, Diana is supportive of either option. Isaac and Elliott have not expressed their opinions publicly. The NDP leadership convention is set for April 17. Mr. Cullen is in the riding for the next couple of weeks and will begin yo-yoing back and forth to Parliament at the end of January.