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REPORTING · 28th June 2012
Walter McFarlane
Nathan Cullen held his Skeena Bulkley Valley Riding Association Annual General Meeting in Kitimat on Saturday, June 16th at the Kitimat Public Library. The meeting was well attended by NDP Members and a few local hangers on. They carried out business and Cullen gave a short speech.

He reflected on the past year, the 2011 election, the passing of Jack Layton, the leadership race and the recent vote on the Omnibus bill.

Cullen talked about his platform from the race, to work with other parties and how it was declared, by critics, as an unpopular idea because political parties are as partisan as you can get. He expressed the idea was not to push a party but to push ideas. Things went better after a debate in Halifax.

“We don’t just want to beat Stephen Harper, but we want to beat the way he does politics,” said Cullen. “We don’t want to replace a right wing ideal control freak with a left wing ideal control freak and still have that poisonous politics in the Country.”

Going into the C38 omnibus bill, Cullen explained acts of parliament which are usually debated over a year before being decided upon were being changed every 20 minutes.

“Our goal was to have people understand a little bit, and cause as much pain to the Government as possible. The Disrespect for democracy that is contained within these kinds of moves, it’s so fundamental, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Conservative or a New Democrat or whatever, this is bad, it weakens our system, our faith that politicians should somehow be fundamental to the people that we represent,” said Cullen.

Despite losing every vote on the bill, the entire caucus cheered on the party leader and the people who have worked so hard at interpreting this bill, a chant comes up from the back of the room: “2015.” The Conservatives want to get out of the room after being brought down for the decisions they were making.

“They are willing to abuse parliament itself to attack the things that we hold sacred and dear and are willing to do and say things that they never campaigned on or talked about and push it through in such a way that is bordering on dictatorship. It starts to edge towards a very, very nasty system,” said Cullen.

Cullen stated they are running a risk. He should not make it a Nathan Cullen run, he should be making it a New Democrat run so the work Cullen does is carried on and not forgotten if he ever steps down. It is not about him, it is about the riding. It is about continuing the conversation rather then entitlement.

He thanked his wife, Dianna for all the support she has given him during his run. Cullen concluded his speech by saying success is about connecting with Canadians and thanked everyone for coming out.