Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson points to a slide during his presentation on proportional representation to about 30 people in Northwest Community College in Smithers last Thursday. (Chris Gareau photo)

MP Cullen takes on new BC liaison role to help with proportional representation

A big part of the job will be to help the BC NDP government in its effort to change how people vote.

The federal NDP have appointed Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen to the new position of B.C. liaison.

Cullen stepped down from his ethics portfolio but will hold onto his democratic reform role, which is no coincidence. A big part of the job will be to help the BC NDP government in its effort to change how people vote to a proportional system.

“The conversation [on creating this position] actually started organically from that. B.C. and I had some conversations very early on just after their election. Any help I can offer just because we had so much experience on this, I’d spent so much time and I just didn’t want to see it go to waste in terms of all the research and all the connections and the opportunities,” explained Cullen.

“B.C.’s different, will have a different view on things than the rest of Canada as it always does. The voting system we come up with will also be naturally different. So there’s no imposition, it’s just that we spent a ton of time talking about this, reaching out to groups around the world.”

NDP Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson held a meeting in Smithers last Thursday to explain the process leading up to the fall referendum on whether to change how we vote. He welcomes Cullen’s help.

“Nathan travelled the country as the vice chair of a federal investigation into electoral reform, so I don’t see it as a party thing, I see it as a great resource. And we have someone not just from the North but someone from B.C. who has a head full of knowledge and can help us shape how we’re going to do electoral reform in this province,” said Donaldson after the meeting.

A member of the audience at Thursday’s meeting on electoral reform did ask about how much input other parties and perspectives are reaching the government during the process that will lead to the referendum question. The Interior News asked Donaldson if his government would reach out to other parties federally or provincially.

“I read the federal report [on electoral reform] and it was headed by a Liberal and had people from all political parties on it. What the engagement process that I talked about today has is the ability for written submissions, and I know that the BC Liberal party will be making a written submission, as will the BC NDP as will our caucus, as will their caucus. So we’ll be getting a lot of different opinions into the process,” said Donaldson.

“It’s up to the independent, neutral Attorney General’s Office to summarize those and then bring it to cabinet.”

The NDP Attorney General is not to be involved in cabinet discussions about the referendum question.

Cullen for his part said the federal NDP liaison position is about more than just proportional representation, and a similar position is being talked about for Alberta.

“That is something that is being contemplated right now,” said Cullen.

More information on the Province’s effort leading up to the referendum, different proposed voting systems, and an opportunity to give input are available at

Just Posted

Bigger and safer bridge to be built across the Nass

New two-lane bridge will be safer and be able to accommodate heavier commercial vehicles.

BVSD 54 superintendent responds to video threat

BVSD 54 sent out letter to parents after Smithers RCMP investigated threatening video posted online.

Snowfall warning in effect

A snowfall warning for the Bulkley Valley and Lakes District is in effect with high winds.

B.C.’s resident sustenance hunters pushed aside for trophy hunt

Northwest Fish Wildlife Conservation Association says new proposed regulation hurts moose population

Students survey Smithers on plastic use

How many plastic bags do you have stuffed in your closets and drawers at home?

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Fatal crash closes Highway 97 south of Prince George

A two-vehicle crash in the Cariboo has claimed the life of one person and sent another to hospital.

BCHL Today: Prince George avoids elimination with game five win

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Suspect arrested and charged for assault on autistic man

Parmvir Chahil has strong B.C. ties; two others charged with accessory after the fact

Uber self-driving crash video calls safety, rules into question

Experts say footage shows that vehicle’s sensors should have spotted pedestrian, initiated braking

Greens’ Elizabeth May, NDP’s Kennedy Stewart join B.C. anti-pipeline protest

The two politicians could be arrested for violating a court injunction

B.C. man shot by police in 2017 pleads guilty to string of offences

Kaymen Winter gets two years, opts for trial on two charges related to Salmon Arm car wash shooting

Are you going to turn off the lights for Earth Hour?

BC Hydro report says fewer people in the province are taking part, but feel it’s still important

Most Read