Cullen firm on decision not to lead

Skeena – Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen is not running for his party’s top job.

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.

Not only is Skeena – Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen not running for his party’s top job, he’s not considering filling in should current leader Tom Mulcair step down while a new leader is selected.

There had been speculation Mulcair, rejected by party members earlier this year at an Edmonton convention, would step down in advance of a new leader being selected in the fall of 2017.

That would pave the way for an interim leader while leadership candidates campaigned for party member support.

“I had a conversation with Tom and he indicated he’ll stay for another full calendar year,” said Cullen last week.

But should Mulcair decide to leave ahead of time, Cullen hinted he might reconsider his position of not being interested in the interim job.

“I’ll open my mind to it then,” he said.

Cullen, first elected in Skeena – Bulkley Valley in 2004, gained national prominence by running third the last time the party had a leadership race.

That race, in which Mulcair was selected, was held in 2012 to replace Jack Layton.

Cullen’s name arose again as a potential candidate this year when, after a disappointing drop from official opposition status to third place in the House of Commons following last fall’s federal election, party members decided to replace Mulcair.

The NDP MP decided against running, citing his young family of twin boys, work he wants to do on climate change and to consider what changes, if any, should be made on how Canadians vote.