This week it was announced that Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen would be the new House Leader for the NDP.
Getting a promotion within the caucus was something most saw coming after Cullen’s impressive third place finish in the NDP leadership campaign. I have to say I saw a critic role in the works, most likely environment given Nathan’s history when the party was a fourth-string one in the House, but House Leader is certainly a step above that.
Being the House Leader is, for all intents and purposes in the view of many, being one of the right-hand men for the leader of the party. It’s a prominent position both literally (front bench) and figuratively in the House of Commons and will only serve to increase awareness of the issues and conditions here in the northwest.
As House Leader, our MP will be getting more face time on national media and more face time with the higher-ups in the Conservative government. Let’s face it, saying the Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP has an issue with something doesn’t carry nearly as much weight as saying the House Leader of the Official Opposition has an issue with something. It essentially cements our representative as a person of power within the system of Canadian government, and that can do nothing but help the people here in the region.
And that is probably a good thing, for as much as there is opportunity with all of the developments planned for the area, there are also some valid concerns that many people have with all the development to come. Now when people take those concerns to the MP, they are also taking them to the House Leader of the Official Opposition.
That being said, there is also somewhat of a fine line that needs to be walked with this new position. Cullen will have to represent the people of the riding, but in the eyes of many across the country he will be someone who speaks on behalf of the NDP party I’ve spoken before about the downfalls of politicians who tow the party line instead of more thoroughly representing the people who elected them, and as one of the power players in the party the need to tow the party line becomes that much more emphasized.
I’m happy for Nathan and his new role. It’s a new role that brings increased responsibility and scrutiny, but one that can only help the riding.