Hope next MP follows Nathan Cullen’s example

Christian advocacy group ARPA’s director says Cullen always had time for people he disagreed with.

Mark Penninga

Honour.

A dictionary will tell us that the word means “high respect” and “great esteem” or to “fulfill an obligation.”

Citizens are duty-bound to honour our civic leaders, who in turn are obligated to honour the callings of their respective offices.

The word came to my mind after hearing the news on Friday [March 1] that our local Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen has announced he will not be running again in the next election.

Although Cullen and I have diametrically opposed worldviews, I have high respect for this Parliamentarian who, for 15 years, has exemplified what it means to be an elected representative.

In my work as the leader of a national advocacy group I have met many hard-working and devoted politicians. But there are very few who work as hard to listen to their constituents, including those who they know will oppose many of their core beliefs.

We live in the largest riding in B.C., by size. It is also one of the furthest from Ottawa. Cullen used that long commute to write hand-written notes in response to letters from his constituents. And his correspondence was personal, direct, and sincere, avoiding the fluff that parties instruct their MPs to communicate.

When I, or volunteers with our BV ARPA group requested a meeting, I can’t think of a time that he turned us down. He knew that we want to discuss controversial issues like euthanasia or abortion. But he didn’t ignore us, or point to his full schedule as a good reason to not meet.

Minutes before standing up in Question Period the day that the SNC Lavelin scandal broke, he was meeting with a small group of high school students, including two from Ebenezer School, who had travelled to Ottawa, hearing them out about what Parliament can do to protect children from pornography.

Many self-described “progressive” leaders have little desire to even speak with Canadians like myself who respectfully disagree with their definition of progress. Sadly, their parties also increasingly whip their MPs to tow the party line, even on issues of conscience. That is why Cullen’s willingness to meet with us time and again is a breath of fresh air in a political atmosphere where dissent isn’t welcome, ironically even under the banner of tolerance and inclusivity.

Scripture says that everyone is to be subject to their political leaders, “for there is no authority except that which God has established” (Romans 13:1). Understood this way, a MP’s position must be treated with great honour because the source of their authority originates from the highest authority.

On behalf of many other citizens and constituents from Skeena-Bulkley Valley, we sincerely thank Nathan Cullen for his devotion to this nation and hope that his example of representation is matched by our next Member of Parliament.

Mark Penninga is the executive director of the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada, a nonpartisan Christian political advocacy organization. He and his family live in Smithers.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen announces at Riverside Park in Smithers that he is not running in the 2019 federal election. (Chris Gareau photo)

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

Jennifer Rice BC NDP North Coast Incumbent was re-elected for a third according to the preliminary results on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Jennifer Rice is North Coast MLA for third term

Preliminary election results show NDP Majority government

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

Most Read