Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen announces at Riverside Park in Smithers that he is not running in the 2019 federal election. (Chris Gareau photo)

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen announces at Riverside Park in Smithers that he is not running in the 2019 federal election. (Chris Gareau photo)

NDP MP Nathan Cullen will not be seeking re-election in northern B.C. riding

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP calls it quits after 15 years

Nathan Cullen will not be seeking re-election.

The Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP made the announcement Friday afternoon beside the Bulkley River in his hometown of Smithers.

“I’ve had five elections and I’ve been humbled by the love and support that I’ve received across the Northwest for all that we’ve tried to do in our politic. I’ve been incredibly proud in some of our accomplishments; not just protecting the Sacred Headwaters, achieving the Great Bear Rainforest agreement, defending the North Coast from oil tanker traffic and fish farms, but also attracting more attention, putting Skeena back on the map, bringing national attention to what we’re doing in the Northwest because I think we have an incredible story to tell,” said Cullen, who added he made his decision around Christmas but wanted to wait on announcing his intent until after NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s byelection win in Burnaby to avoid taking away some of the attention.

“I can’t really properly articulate how much being the member of Parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley has meant to me and my family. It is one of the most incredible honours I’ve ever had; it’s been humbling almost each and every day. Work has been challenging and it’s really been a vocation; it’s been a life’s calling.”

Voted by his colleagues across party lines as Maclean’s 2018 parliamentarian of the year, Cullen is a veteran of 15 years for the NDP caucus. He joins fellow NDP MP Murray Rankin from Victoria in a growing line of party members choosing not to run, but plans on helping whoever runs for the NDP..

Cullen insists the number of NDP MPs not running again is simply cyclical. For the father of twin eight-year-olds, it was a family decision.

“I’ve talked to my colleagues and all of us not presenting again share a very similar story: It’s about things going on in life. Some of my colleagues are at retirement age or similar to me have served quite a few years either in federal or provincial politics, and now is the time.

“If I were only looking at the political environment right now … I would run again because I think we have a real shot of this government coming down and having a real opportunity,” said Cullen.

He said having a leader who is now an MP matters.

“I have great hope and optimism for Jagmeet Singh and our caucus going into the next election. It’s good to see him in the House [of Commons] finally. And with the current government having the troubles that it’s having, I think we’ll have more than a better offer come 2019[’s election],” said Cullen.

He expressed appreciation for the people who have reached out to him during this time of change and reflection.

“Support from the Indigenous elders not just from the Wet’suwet’en but across the Northwest, personally for me and my family, has been so humbling,” said Cullen.

“I’m more than excited for the future. This has been a wild 15 years in federal politics. I’ve seen quite a few things and continue to be amazed by the strength and fortitude of the people of the Northwest. I look forward to serving and continuing to fight for them in a different way.”

According to Cullen, some prominent people from northwest B.C. are considering taking a run at his seat.

Smithers Mayor Bachrach was at the announcement Friday. When asked he said he was busy running a small town, but seemed a bit dodgy, joking he was walking not running down the trail in Riverside Park.

Cullen said he does not know what’s next for him.

He was in the non-profit and small business sector before being convinced to run 15 years ago by the late Bill Goodacre, a Smithers councillor and former area MLA who recently had the assisted living facility meant to combat homelessness in Smithers named after him.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak hits first Greater Victoria hospital

Island Health declares outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital

The Walking Curriculum gets students outside and connecting with nature. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
‘Walking Curriculum’ crafted by former Saanich resident surges in popularity

The outdoor curriculum encourages students to connect with the natural world

Greater Victoria 4-H club member Sava Bell is all smiles holding some of the garden fresh ingredients he used to make his award-winning dish for the Field to Fork Challenge. (Courtesy Agriculture in the Classroom)
Greater Victoria 4-H members among winners in provincewide cooking competition

Field to Fork Challenge encourages B.C. youth to prepare healthy, local foods

Athletes with Fairway Gorge Paddling Club’s open men’s staff head out on a high-tech outrigger canoe. The club raised more than $16,500 at its 2020 Wetdasche event. (Courtesy of Fairway Gorge Paddling Club)
Victoria paddling group breaks fundraising record

Fairway Gorge Paddling Club’s 2020 Wetdashe event raises more than $16,500

Sipili Molia, regional kettle manager, shows off the Salvation Army’s new contactless donation system for the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign outside municipal hall on Dec. 1. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Tech offers hope as Salvation Army sees need skyrocket across B.C.

Charity is equipping hundreds of kettles across B.C. with ‘touchless giving technology’

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former B.C. pro hockey player frustrated with COVID-deniers after horrific bout with virus

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

A man stands in the window of an upper floor condo in Vancouver on March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Change made to insurance for B.C. condo owners amid rising premiums

Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

Most Read