SKEENA – BULKLEY MP Nathan Cullen has turned down the prospect of running for the provincial NDP leadership.
“After careful deliberation over a number of weeks, I’ve decided this is simply not the time for me to take on the challenge of the BC leadership race,” said Cullen in a statement released Jan. 17.
Cullen cited unfinished commitments to his federal constituents and family responsibilities as the father of infant twins as the key reasons for his decision.
For example, Cullen said he wanted to continue efforts to ban oil tankers from the BC coast.
That’s part of Cullen’s opposition to Enbridge’s plan to build the Northern Gateway pipeline to carry oil from Alberta to a marine export terminal at Kitimat.
Cullen noted the province is at a pivotal point of its development with both major political parties renewing themselves through leadership changes.
“There is real, unprecedented opportunity for lasting renewal on a number of fronts in our province and I appeal to all candidates, New Democrat and Liberal alike, to take full advantage of this unique moment.”
The provincial NDP leader job came open when Carole James said she was stepping down after a revolt was staged by members of her own caucus.
The party has selected MLA Dawn Black as interim leader until a permanent one is chosen at a convention this spring.
She was chosen last week.
Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin, one of the group in the caucus who helped force out James, said he hasn’t made up his mind about who he will support.
“It’s early days still, and I’d like to see something more substantive from each of the leadership candidates on what their priorities would be, and I think that’ll come out in the next few weeks,” said Austin last week.
“I also want to, of course, choose somebody who speaks to the issues who speaks to the issues that concern Northern B.C.,” he said.
Six people are in the leadership race.