In our Opinion: No thumbs up from Cullen

Whatever one thinks of Cullen’s stance on LNG for Rupert, one thing is for certain, our MP is no longer the up-and-coming rookie

When will Nathan Cullen actually champion a project that will create the economic benefits this area so badly needs?

While Cullen continues to toe the party line, he is constantly kicking Prince Rupert in the butt.

Cullen’s anti-LNG stance for Lelu Island is well established and, rightly or wrongly, he well represents the segment of North Coast residents who do not want to see LNG projects or jobs under any circumstance.

As his boss Thomas Mulcair fights to keep his grasp on the leadership of the federal NDP after the hammering the party took in the last election, it is politically astute for Cullen to not venture too far into the fray that could alienate any eastern voters.

Only the daft can believe Cullen isn’t eyeing Mulcair’s chair in the House of Commons. After his strong leadership run to replace Jack Layton, Cullen is the odds-on favourite to now replace Mulcair.

Whatever one thinks of Cullen’s stance on LNG for Rupert or of the many industries exporting out of the City of Rainbows, one thing is for certain, our MP is no longer the up-and-coming rookie — he is the savvy vet.

And therein lies the rub for the wee people of Prince Rupert. Cullen has to play the national game, not the local one.

And for that very reason, Cullen told the Northern View last week, he couldn’t sign off on the TransPacific Partnership deal. A deal that anyone should understand will have economic benefits for Prince Rupert that could be staggering.

Can anyone spell Phase 5?

Because of the free trade deal, Canadian Pacific exports and imports are expected to increase dramatically. To handle this increase, there are only two Canadian Pacific ports — Vancouver and Prince Rupert. Where do you think all the extra ships will end up?

But Cullen can’t give the deal a thumbs up because to do so would alienate eastern and central Canadian NDP voters. And for an MP with leadership aspirations, crossing the party line would be a campaign-killer.

Nope, Cullen can’t give a potentially economic windfall for Rupert the thumbs up. Instead we, again, got another digit.