OTTAWA – Veteran BC MP Nathan Cullen says he won’t be mounting a bid to succeed Tom Mulcair as the leader of the federal New Democrats.
Cullen, first elected in 2004 to the riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley, says he wants to focus instead on Canada’s upcoming efforts in electoral reform.
He says in coming to this decision not to run for the leadership, he took three factors into account. “What is best for me and my family, what is best for the people I represent… and what this party that I love so much needs and deserves right now.”
“I suppose one aspect of the this decision today — and it’s a good aspect for me — is that it allows me the total commitment to the process that began yesterday with the government on helping create and form with Canadians a new electoral system. This, to me, is a more than worthy project. It is something I have long believed in and hoped for,” adds Cullen.
Cullen ran against Mulcair in the party’s 2012 leadership race, ultimately coming in third behind runner-up Brian Topp.
“The challenge for my particular situation — and this was true when I ran a number of years ago — is representing a riding very far away from the capital… as well as trying to maintain some presence of fatherhood. Being the kind of father that I want to be is challenging enough on its own. You add into that running around the country for the next 15 or 16 months in a leadership race — as exciting as that could be — I fully appreciate the demands of that, having been through it before and what it would mean,” he says.
Cullen adds he would like to endorse someone in the leadership race, but doesn’t yet know who that will be.
“I would like to be engaged. I don’t want to necessarily be a neutral factor in this. I want to find someone I believe in, someone I think will take us to the next step, and get fully behind them with all of my energy.”
He says he is not considering a provincial run in BC.
The party has opted for an extended leadership race to replace Mulcair and expects to choose a new leader sometime in the fall of 2017, with the nomination period set to begin next month.
Mulcair was flatly rejected as the party’s long-term leader at a convention in Edmonton last month.
In order to run, hopefuls will be required to provide a registration fee of $30,000 while the spending cap has been set at $1.5 million.