AN UPBEAT Nathan Cullen officially opened his Terrace NDP federal election campaign office yesterday, saying he wants to finish the work he’s started.
Cullen, first elected as the NDP MP for the Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding in 2004 and again in 2006, 2008 and 2011, said all indications point to B.C. being the place where the ultimate national winner on Oct. 19 will be decided.
“B.C. is going to pick the next government in this country. This time our votes are going to count,” he said.
Cullen also referred to what he called the changing political nature of the northwest, saying there are now “progressive” mayors and municipal councillors in local governments.
“It’s a people trying to live together story,” he added.
Cullen said it’s also time for reconciliation between First Nations and the rest of the country.
“The only way the country moves forward is if we acknowledge the past,” he said.
As much as Cullen’s speech was about party principles, it was also about raising money for the campaign with the candidate noting the spending limit during the election in this riding is now nearly $250,000.
He said the lengthy campaign period this time favours a well-financed party such as the Conservatives.
“The only reason is money,” said Cullen of the election campaign which began the August long weekend.
The candidate closed off his speech by squeezing oranges into juice in return for donations made by those at the opening.
The juice-making was a reference to the NDP’s 2011 election campaign, dubbed the “Orange Crush,” which resulted in the party becoming the Official Opposition.
Cullen was introduced by Glenn Bennett, the Kitselas First Nation’s Director of Treaty Implementation, who thanked Cullen for his efforts as it worked toward its land claims treaty agreement-in-principle.
“It was very frustrating, I can tell you that for a fact,” said Bennett in referring to the two years it took both the provincial and federal governments to ratify the agreement after Kitselas members voted their approval in 2013.
The Kitselas First Nation agreement, along with one for the Kitsumkalum First Nation, was signed by federal and provincial officials earlier this month.
Bennett then presented Cullen with a gift – the Sheaffer pen used by Kitselas First Nations officials to sign its agreement in principle.