For Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen the biggest event coming from the nation’s capital in 2014 was one to be remembered, but certainly not fondly.
“The biggest event coming out of Ottawa this year was the attack on Nathan Cirillo and the National War Memorial and the attack on Parliament itself,” he said during a year-end media scrum.
“We all went back to work almost immediately, yet you can still see the bullet holes all around the building itself and the effects on people and our way of thinking.”
When it comes to the year that was personally, Cullen said the last 12 months have been one of change and championing a bill that would protect the shores of the riding.
“I moved over from being the House Leader for the Opposition to becoming the finance critic, which has been great to bring a northern and rural perspective to an issue that usually has more of a Bay Street perspective. The reception from the business community has been outstanding … it has also meant that I have dealt with a lot of the budget omnibus bills, which have been hard to deal with because they’re not very good,” he said.
“In parallel to this, I have been writing the Take Back Our Coast campaign and visited more than communities. We’re looking to raise 100,000 signatures in 100 days in support of my bill, which would ban bulk oil tankers on the North Coast and improve the value added scenario for all pipeline and community consultation, which has gotten increasingly bad.”
Carrying on the work of both the finance critic portfolio and getting the bill to protect the North Coast will put the MP on the road for much of 2015, but asked about his wishes for the coming year there was one that Cullen quickly highlighted.
“I would really love to see the Northern Gateway go away so we can focus on all of the positive things that are going on in the Northwest. I don’t think that is going to happen in 2015, I think the company has too much Chinese money backing it,” he said.
“For us in the Northwest, I want to see the benefits spread out further I want to see the Hazeltons and groups on Haida Gwaii pickup some of the momentum. We have some ideas about helping small business and energy projects, but the federal government is standing in the way. It’s not that they’re not helping, they’re actually hindering.”
Cullen also said the year ahead is one he hopes will see another significant change on Parliament Hill.
“We are also in an election year so I think the intensity of our politics will also pick up as the race, what I think is going to be a three-way race across Canada, becomes clearly defined,” he said.
“2015 couldn’t come fast enough, now it’s here and I am excited because we get to head back to the polls and maybe see something different for the country.”