NDP MP Nathan Cullen furious with Tory appointment

  • Aug. 29, 2007 10:00 a.m.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says he’s furious that the Conservatives have appointed their own representative for this riding. Mr. Cullen, a member of the NDP who has been elected twice to represent Skeena-Bulkley Valley, said the Conservative move “strikes at the heart of democracy”, and that he is writing to the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House to protest it. Conservative MP Dick Harris, who represents the neighbouring riding of Cariboo-Prince George, said earlier this month that people in the Skeena riding who can’t get help from Mr. Cullen’s office should call the newly-appointed Conservative liaison, Houston mayor Sharon Smith. Mr. Harris hadn’t returned the Observer’s phone call by our deadline and his secretary said there was no one else who could explain Ms Smith’s appointment. Mr. Cullen said he has not heard of anyone in this riding not being able to get the help they need from his office. He also said it does not matter what party your MP belongs to when citizens need federal government assistance, for example with passport applications or EI issues. Mr. Harris is misleading the public when he says that the Conservatives can help Skeena residents better than he can, Mr. Cullen said. “I work with ministers all the time,” he said. “We’ve been able to secure funding, we’ve been able to advocate for people.” Mr. Cullen said it’s also outrageous that Mr. Harris is using his time and office – as an MP, Canadian taxpayers pay his salary – to bolster Ms Smith, who will the Conservative candidate for this riding in the next election. “It’s skullduggery,” he said. “This is one of the things that turns people off politics.” Ms Smith, the Houston mayor and Conservative candidate, made headlines around the world several years ago when photos of her posing nude in the mayor’s office were posted on the internet.