Cullen steps up criticism

MP Cullen has been unabashed in his criticism of the federal government’s handling of Enbridge Northern Gateway.

Skeena Bulkley Valley federal MP Nathan Cullen has been making headlines recently with his musings on the possibility that he would move from federal to provincial politics and take the helm of the B.C. NDP party.

Current NDP leader Adrian Dix announced that he would be stepping down as leader within the year.

Cullen, official house leader of the opposition, has been unabashed in his criticism of the federal government’s handling of Enbridge Northern Gateway, environmental protection, and the federal government’s lack of forthrightness in dealing with First Nations constitutionally guaranteed rights with regard to natural resource projects.

In a regular monthly conversation with Northwest media outlets, Cullen talked about federal policies as they relate to the Northwest and gave some insight into his future plans.

Regarding the recent federal initiative to visit Northwest B.C. in a thinly veiled attempt to sell Enbridge Northern Gateway to a population divided on the pipeline proposal, Cullen sees little hope of a turnaround of public opinion.

“Harper and his cabinet were out in B.C. on a ‘charm offensive’, particularly focused at First Nations,” Cullen said. “I doubt it will be successful… there’s little hope for Mr. Harper’s plan to ram this thing through.”

Cullen sees the clamour surrounding Enbridge Northern Gateway ending up in the courts for a decision.

“First Nations have a constitutional right to be consulted and accommodated,” Cullen said. “There is no real bulldozer that you can take to the supreme court justices. They’re going to defend the constitution.”

“The constitutional lawyers I’ve talked to about this – which have  just been a few because it’s still a ways off – have said that this is a slam dunk… pre-informed consent has not been met and [there’s] little likelihood that it would be.”

Cullen also ramped-up his direct criticism of the provincial liberals and their handling of Fortune Minerals current attempt to develop a coal mine in the Mount Klappan area, approximately 320 kms north of Terrace.

“My hope for the area is that it becomes a traditional use area and that it becomes protected,” Cullen said.

The provincial Liberals, Cullen said, had promised as much to the Tahltan First Nation,  which explains the entrenched response protesters have made to preliminary field work in the area.

“To envision that a protected area could also include an open-pit coal mine is a pretty impoverished view of what protection looks like,” Cullen said. “For the premier to think she can just wink and nod to industry while making promises to First Nations doesn’t bode well for [other] relationships across the province.”

Cullen announced that he would be undertaking an LNG tour throughout the Northwest, without mentioning specifics.

“We’re looking to bring industry, environmental groups, and First Nations onto the same stage so that people can have a sense of what projects are being proposed and also have a more full view of the pros and cons of pipelines and specific projects,” he said.

As for the chances that Cullen will exit the federal arena and turn to provincial politics, only time will tell.

“I’m still somewhat cool to the idea, although it has been warming up to me based on the kinds and number of calls and interactions I’ve had from people,” he said.

“I don’t have a timeline set for myself in terms of making a decision.”



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

Just Posted

Vehicles waiting for the highway to reopen. (Shashank Bangera photo/Lakes District News)
Vehicle incident claims life on Highway 16 east of Burns Lake

The accident resulted in highway closure

The victim of a homicide in Houston is Pietro Adamo. (Photo courtesy the RCMP)
Man dies from injuries following assault

Investigators looking for information on this homicide

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

(Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory Facebook screenshot)
Ceremony a right at proposed CGL pipeline drill site: BC Union of Indian Chiefs

Indigenous land defenders cannot be criminalized and targeted, argues UBCIC

(File graphic)
Man dies in Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) after being taken into police custody

IIO and BC Corners Service conducting independent investigations

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. sees record-breaking daily COVID infections with 499 new cases over weekend

Two people, both in the Lower Mainland, died due to the virus over the weekend

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read