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Skeena - Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen reflects on 2012 and looks ahead to 2013

The past 12 months was one in which the power of opposition was shown effective in Ottawa and here in the northwest, said Skeena - Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.

“The leadership race consumed a lot of the year, but one highlight for me was Shell Canada pulling out of the Sacred Headwaters. It was inevitable, but it was the right call and it shows that the power of the people works in the northwest,” he said, noting that the Shell decision should be worrisome to Enbridge as they move ahead with their Northern Gateway pipeline.

“This year also showed that the 'NDP honeymoon' was more than a honeymoon. Our opposition is set to give a new direction for the country. It feels very real to us and we're getting ready to bring a new voice to Canadians.”

As for the leadership race, which saw him finish third and helped propel him into the House Leader role, Cullen said it sent an important message to government.

“It was a big megaphone for me to be able to shout to the country the challenges and opportunities of living in the northwest... It showed me that the issues we deal with here in the northwest are relevant everywhere and the message we bring is an important one,” he said.

“That was very validating and important to me because it shows we are not alone.”

As for 2013 Cullen said he sees more optimism in the region than in the past eight years spent in office.

“Energy use seems to be the big discussion taking place in 2013 and we are right at the crossroads of that discussion,” he said, adding that not all projects are welcome.

“Canada needs to figure out a national energy strategy, and I don't think crude oil pipelines need to be a part of that strategy.”

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