Monday, December 08, 2008

Cullen still endorsing the "good idea" of a coalition

In Politics, a week is a lifetime it seems, so it will be with interest as the events in Ottawa play out over the next seven weeks how the players in the passion play of prorogation all turn out when all is said and done.

Nathan Cullen, the NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley continues to provide his endorsement of the goals of the coalition from last week, a staunch defence of the procedure that the coalition members were seeking to utilize in their bid to change the government.

With much of Western Canada apparently up in arms over the coalition maneuvers of the last week, it will be of interest to gauge the response in the riding as the drama continues in January.
With the sudden provision of an extended Christmas and New Year's break, Mr. Cullen will have ample time to try and get a feel for what his constituents feel about the latest happenings in Ottawa.

While his seat has been a rather safe one over the last couple of elections, it hasn't always been an NDP riding and one wonders if the recent events in Ottawa may end up marginalizing the Liberal vote (not particularly strong in recent years) completely, sending the right leaning ones to the Conservatives and the left leaning ones to Mr. Cullen.

If that should come to pass, one wonders if he will have enough of the voters on his side of the ledger to return to the Hill once again, come the next election.

Before that all plays out however, there is still the matter of the coalition, tattered as its clothing seems to be at this point and with a fuzzy destiny at the moment.

Mr. Cullen's case for the coalition could be found in Friday's Daily News as the front page headline story.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP is sure Canadians will see the merits of change in government
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Friday, December 05, 2008
Pages one and three

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is coming home a lot sooner than he expected.
Governor-General Michaelle Jean accepted Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request to prorogue the government Thursday, leaving the coalition MPs two months to cool their heels in their ridings until the Conservative government presents its budget on Jan. 27.

"This is not a proud day for anybody," said Cullen as he reacted to news that the federal government has been prorogued until late January.

That's left Cullen claiming that the economy will not be dealt with for two months.

"As mills are closing and people are losing their homes and pensions, it seems to me to be the height of irresponsibility and selfishness that the government has chosen this path forward," said Cullen from Ottawa.

The MP was scheduled to be on a flight back to the region where he was set to attend Olympic gold medalist Carol Huhnh's celebrations in Hazelton today.

There have been concerns out of Ottawa that Liberal leader Stephane Dion had been a wrench in the coalition's machinations for power and Cullen admitted that he has not been in love with the idea of a Dion-led government, even if it would have lasted for only a month.

"It's been problematic for me in some ways because of the election but the choice was never mine or the New Democrats' choice. It was a choice made by the Liberals and I guess when you are working in coalition you have to make concessions and allow the other parties in a coalition to make their choices as well," said Cullen.

Selling the idea of a parliamentary coalition has not been easy and Canadians have had reservations, Cullen admitted. But he remained convinced that the reason some were against the idea was the newness of the concept and not because of a poor sell-job by the three parties.

"I am always a firm believer that good ideas win out over time," said Cullen.

"If people start to see what is agreed to and get the concepts, particularly in British Columbia where we have such divisive politics, where, as the idea of the coalition is starting to even out the sharp edges of political parties," said Cullen.

Cullen also expressed concerns about rising violence around the country if emotions run too high. One of his roadside signs in Smithers was recently burned.

He said he asked the Conservatives to tone down the rhetoric, claiming that inciting rash behaviour among Canadians fearful of a governmental crisis helps no one.
"They have to conduct themselves as leaders and people look to them.

"If they are telling people that there has been illegal activity in parliament and that their government has been stolen from them, then, quite naturally, they react quite angrily," said Cullen.

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