MP Nathan Cullen is warming up to the idea of provincial NDP leadership

MP Nathan Cullen is warming up to the idea of provincial NDP leadership

Nathan Cullen warming up to provincial NDP leadership bid

If you want Nathan Cullen to lead the provincial New Democrats, keep lobbying him.

  • Sep. 30, 2013 11:00 a.m.

Bill Phillips

Prince George Free Press

If you want Nathan Cullen to lead the provincial New Democrats, keep lobbying him.

The Bulkley Valley-Skeena MP, who was one of the contenders for the federal leadership, hasn’t made up his mind yet whether he will make the jump to the provincial scene.

“Even a few months ago it seemed like a remote possibility, I was cool to the idea,” Cullen told northern media yesterday morning.  “I’m still cool to the idea, but it has been warming up to me.”

A big part of the reason he’s warming up to the idea is that he is being lobbied by party members, at all levels, to take a run at the provincial leadership. Current leader Adrian Dix announced last week he will step down as soon as a new leader can be chosen, hopefully by early next year.

That lobbying, Cullen says, has been by people whose opinion and views he respects. And, he’s humbled by the confidence party members are putting in him.

“The offers have been incredibly sincere,” he said “I’ve been kind of surprised, I keep thinking they’re talking about someone else.”

One of the things that is holding him back is that he is committed to what he is doing as a member of the Official Opposition in Ottawa.

“There’s just so much to do and it’s good work,” he said, adding that he will launch a tour of the North next month to gain input on what the area thinks about liquefied natural gas.

He will start his tour in Prince George, coinciding with the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council’s liquefied natural gas summit.

There are plenty of others who are being touted as possible contenders for the leadership and Cullen says the talent pool is pretty deep. John Horgan and Mike Farworth, who both sought the leadership last time are “formidable voices,” said Cullen. He added that David Eby, who defeated Christy Clark in the Vancouver-Point Grey riding is “fantastic, as it George Heyman.”

One of the good things, Cullen said, is that discussion within the party isn’t focusing solely on the new leader, but about winning the next election.

“There’s not a worry in my mind that if I don’t go then it’s Bad News Bears,” said Cullen.