New MP wants tax break for islanders

  • Aug. 11, 2004 12:00 p.m.

MP Nathan Cullen says he will be introducing a private members bill to give islanders a bigger northern living tax credit when Parliament resumes this October.
“To call this place not isolated is ridiculous,” he told the Observer Monday during a two-day visit to the islands. “Right now there’s just a line they draw – we need to use different factors.”
It was Mr. Cullen’s first visit here since he was elected June 28. He arrived on the Queen of Prince Rupert Sunday evening, along with NDP leader Jack Layton and Mr. Layton’s wife, Olivia Chow.
Ferry workers and passengers were pleasantly surprised to see a national leader like Mr. Layton travelling by ferry rather than plane, Mr. Cullen said. But Mr. Layton had wanted to go on the QPR, he said, because he could meet more people that way and to give him an idea of the transportation challenges faced by islanders.
“Now he knows more about what the ship’s condition is, what it means if the service is disrupted,” Mr. Cullen said.
The rookie MP, who lives in Smithers, has already made several trips to Ottawa and is heading back there on Friday. But that’s no problem – he loves travelling.
“You absolutely have to, in a riding this big,” he said. “You need to love trains, planes and automobiles.”
Once Parliament starts sitting again, he will be trying to come back to the riding every weekend, he said.
Other plans for the future include hiring a staff member who will be working specifically on economic development in the region.
While he was here, Mr. Cullen met with the local arts council, community activists, the credit union, the Skidegate band council, and attended a potluck picnic in Tlell.

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