Cullen talking to supporters in Halifax in November 2011.

Cullen talking to supporters in Halifax in November 2011.

Nathan Cullen’s leadership campaign gathering momentum, debate scheduled for Sunday

MP Nathan Cullen has continued to gain momentum in NDP leadership run and will partake in All-Candidates debate on Sunday.

Skeena-Bulkey Valley MP Nathan Cullen has been continuing to gain momentum in his campaign to become leader of the NDP Party in Canada, and will be facing off against his competitors in another All-Candidates Debate this Sunday.

“Our campaign is being well-received from what I can tell,” Said Cullen during a press conference for northwestern media last week.

“We have another 6 or 7 weeks to go before we end up in Toronto for the big vote. It’s been powerful. We’re packing rooms across the country. It’s stunning to see the interest that Canadians have.”

Cullen first ran for the NDP in 2004, and was successful in becoming MP for the Skeena-Bulkey Valley area, one of Canada’s largest ridings, beating out a Conservative incumbent. Since, Cullen has been re-elected each term in this riding.

Cullen is now going against six other candidates to replace the late Jack Layton for the NDP Party leader, which is down one candidate after Quebec MP Romeo Saganash withdrew himself from the face last Friday.

In the past few months, since he announced he would be running in the race, Cullen has traveled all around the country promoting himself and his ideas.

These ideas include a proposal for joint nominations to beat out MPs in Conservative-held ridings, where the NDPs, Liberals and Greens would have a contest between them, with the winner running against Conservatives under his or hers’ party banner. This idea had Cullen on the defense during the last All-Candidates Debate held in Halifax on January 29, when other leadership hopefuls Martin Singh, Thomas Mulcair and Peggy Nash all made swipes at Cullen claiming this idea would be like going backwards for the NDP party.

But the Skeena-Bulkey Valley MP said his idea is exactly what many ridings have been asking for, and despite the criticism he will continue to promote this idea.

“I’m doing it my own way. I’m doing it in a way that makes sense for my kind of politics.” Said Cullen during last week’s media conference.

Another issue Cullen has been bringing up during discussions around the country is opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, a topic that has gotten him support from B.C. MPs.

Another All Candidates Debate will be held on Sunday, February 12, where hopeful leaders will debate on foreign policies.

Cullen will then be spending the remainder of February traveling around the British Columbia, including a trip to Prince Rupert on February 17 to appear before the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline joint review panel, and the Yukon to promote himself for NDP Leader, before facing off against competitors in another All Candidates Debate held in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Sunday, February 26, with the topic of this debate being “Connecting People and Regions”.

Cullen says he loves being in the leadership race and says, “things are going really well”, but he misses being home with his family in Smithers.

People who wish to vote for the NDP party leadership will have until February 18 to join the party, which can at the general NDP website. The leadership vote will be held in Toronto on Saturday, March 24.

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