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REPORTING · 5th January 2011
Walter McFarlane
Member of Legislative Assembly Robin Austin and Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen held an open house in their Terrace offices on December 20th. People flooded into their offices to meet and greet with their representatives. Also present was Mayor Dave Pernarowski of Terrace.

We asked three questions to both of the representatives; the first was to reflect on the past year.

“The success of last year was mostly in showing British Columbians that the vote for the Liberals in the last election was a fraudulent one because they promised no HST and brought it in, they promised a half a billion deficit and wound up with 2.8 billion dollar deficit. I think we were a very effective opposition for the government because obviously the government imploded and the Premier had to resign but then we had our own challenges.” said Austin.

Our second question concerned what the future held.

“We’re in a state of flux right now because we’re going to have a new leader. The next few weeks we’re going to watch to see who puts their name forward to run for the NDP on January the 19th, we’re going to nominate an interim leader who will lead the party through to April 17th when there is going to be a leadership convention,” said Austin.

Austin said he has no interest in throwing his hat into the race.

He said the House will be back in session on February 14th with a budget and a throne speech but as the leader will not be in place until after these are presented. He suggested the real budget will not be decided until there is a premier in place.

He said both parties had to focus, but for the next six months, BC politics would be exciting.

Cullen said the top of his mind was the tanker moratorium as the feedback they have received since the initial vote has been overwhelming. He said it has the debate going at the national level over energy, energy security and protecting the coast.

He said there were mines going through their stages and they continued to do well in attracting federal dollars.

Cullen said the New Year would start with a budget. He said election speculation would start up right away although he considered an election unlikely.

“For us in the Northwest, it is all about Job creation and investment. The Federal Government did not do very well on its stimulus spending in terms of actual job creation,” said Cullen.

He spoke about the creation of a few new mines up the highway 37 corridor and putting Kitimat back on its feet with a proper start to the Kitimat Smelter Modernization.

Our Final question asked for a New Years Resolution.

Austin said he would select and support a new progressive leader with a vision which would engage British Columbians. He hoped to one day sit on the other side of the house.

Cullen’s New Years resolution revolved around his family who were also present; ‘To be a good father and create a balance between politics and home life.’