Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Nathan Cullen stays on provincial NDP Leadership sidelines

Still glowing in the success of his House of Commons motion in opposition of the prospect of oil tankers plying the waters of the North Coast, Nathan Cullen took time out yesterday to address the rumblings of a potential leadership bid for the provincial NDP leadership, soon to be vacated by Carole James.

Mr. Cullen outlined in a number of interviews that he was flattered with all the attention, which included phone calls and messages of support, but in his mind there was still much work to be done in Ottawa and thus he would not be a contestant in the leadership campaign, set to get underway at full throttle in the New Year.

The NDP MP for Skeena Bulkley Valley had been touted by some political observers as a possible candidate of reconciliation for the provincial party, bringing in some perspective away from the current in-fighting that has been highlighted over the last few weeks.

He completed his most current mission in Ottawa on Tuesday, when the House of Commons voted on his bid to make official a moratorium on oil tanker traffic in Dixon Entrance and Hecate Strait.

The motion introduced by Cullen found support from Liberal, Bloc Quebecois and NDP MP's who collectively voted 143-138 in favour of the motion, which while not binding on the Conservative government does provide it with a sense of what MP's believe are the wishes of their constituents.

The success of his motion, is perhaps the highlight of his time in Ottawa thus far and has raised his profile in the capital, weighing that success against returning to British Columbia to take charge of what appears to be a divided party probably has been part of his thinking on the topic over the last 48 hours or so.

With that higher profile and his dedication to environmental matters, some in the provincial NDP may have been hopeful that his federal resume would resonate with provincial voters and provide a strong alternative to whichever candidate the Liberals put in place in early 2011.

With his thoughts from Tuesday he would seem to be dashing their hopes in the short term, however politics is always a game that leaves words open to interpretation.

And those still hoping for a Cullen candidacy may take heart in a statement he made to CFTK TV 7 News "so while I'm flattered, I'm declining to throw my hat in the ring just yet".

Those final two words may be what keeps the burner still fired for those seeking to lure him back from Ottawa, for many it may be the sound of a door creaking open just a little bit.

CFTK TV 7 News-- Cullen Passes on Running for BC NDP Leadership
Opinion 250-- Cullen passing on provincial NDP Leadership
Terrace Standard-- No thanks, says Cullen of top job

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