Skeena Bulkley-Valley’s representative in Ottawa isn’t discounting the idea of a federal election this spring.
NDP MP Nathan Cullen said it all boils down to two things: the upcoming budget or if the government will be found in contempt of Parliament.
“Obviously, we’re going into a week next week where the election timing and the budget are going to be front and centre,” he said during a media call yesterday. “There’s all sorts of possibilities of how a government could fall.”
Cullen said the party put out four budget items, saying that if the government wanted to stay on and avoid an election, it should meet the NDP halfway on priorities like retirement security for seniors, environment, and taking home heating off the harmonized sales tax.
“The government made some early noises that they’d be willing to work on that, and have since started to push away,” he said.
However, Cullen said if Parliament finds the government in contempt, it’s going to be difficult to consider supporting them in any way.
“It’s significant,” he said. “I mean, governments have lied before, but never so brazenly, never so openly and with so much disdain for the democratic process.”
Being found in contempt brings up all sorts of possibilities of non-confidence votes, he said.
The NDP will be having a special caucus meeting on Monday to talk more about it.
“If either of those things happen, the government doesn’t move on the budget, or they’re found to be knowingly lying again and again, I think we’re well into a campaign,” he said.
Cullen pointed out that the Conservatives seem to be gearing up for an election, saying that they’ve spent $26 million of taxpayer money on ads and campaigning in one month alone.
A Conservative candidate was chosen for the riding last June and has been campaigning in the riding since then.
Clay Harmon, who lives in Terrace and has been in the northwest for the last six years, was recently the chief financial officer for the Kitsumkalum First Nation and also worked as the director of finance for the Nisga’a Lisims government. He’s now a self-employed consultant.
Harmon made appearances with federal ministers Stockwell Day and John Baird when they visited the northwest last summer.
Cullen was elected in 2004 and has been re-elected twice since then, taking nearly 50 per cent of the votes in the last two elections. He took over after the Reform and Canadian Alliance’s hold on the riding from 1993 to 2003.