After Nathan Cullen was re-elected for his fourth term as Member of Parliament for the Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding, I was waiting for his appointment to the shadow cabinet of an NDP that now holds the position of official opposition.
Given that Cullen had held a critic position dating back to when the NDP had only 19 seats after the 2004 election, with many terms spent as environment critic, and that some of his bills and ideas had launched him into a more national spotlight, it seemed to make sense that there would be a key role in the now 103 member NDP official opposition caucus awaiting Mr. Cullen. It would be a role that would bring more prominence to the Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP and the riding as a whole.
So I was more than a little surprised last Thursday when the NDP shadow cabinet was announced and Nathan’s name wasn’t on the list. A little bit surprised and a little disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong, the role of Ethics Committee chair is an important one in the grand scheme of things and certainly holds some sway in the Canadian culture, but concerns about environmental issues or fisheries issues or employment issues seem to hold more weight when coming from the Federal (insert portfolio here) Critic than from the chair of the ethics committee. And when mainstream media want a comment on those issues, the chair of the ethics committee is certainly not going to be the person that they seek opinion from.
I have no doubt that Mr. Cullen will continue to do a great job in representing the region, and if he’s happy with the ethics chair role I’m happy for him. I just think his voice could have been given that much more power as a Federal Critic in the official opposition.