NDP’s Cullen to visit islands Tuesday

  • Apr. 4, 2011 7:00 a.m.

NDP candidate Nathan Cullen will be visiting 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, said he will be arriving in Masset Tuesday (April 5) on either the morning or the afternoon flight from Prince Rupert. From there, he will make his way south, campaigning in all communities. Mr. Cullen said he plans to visit local restaurants and cafes to talk to voters, and will also be knocking on doors. “It’s going to be a whirlwindy kind of thing,” he said. 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 it, Mr. Cullen said. The Conservatives were also found in contempt of parliament for hiding spending. The issue is a complex one, 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.”

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