Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen announces at Riverside Park in Smithers that he is not running in the 2019 federal election. (Chris Gareau photo)

Nathan Cullen not seeking re-election

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP calls it quits after 15 years

Nathan Cullen will not be seeking re-election.

The Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP made the announcement Friday afternoon beside the Bulkley River in his hometown of Smithers.

“I’ve had five elections and I’ve been humbled by the love and support that I’ve received across the Northwest for all that we’ve tried to do in our politic. I’ve been incredibly proud in some of our accomplishments; not just protecting the Sacred Headwaters, achieving the Great Bear Rainforest agreement, defending the North Coast from oil tanker traffic and fish farms, but also attracting more attention, putting Skeena back on the map, bringing national attention to what we’re doing in the Northwest because I think we have an incredible story to tell,” said Cullen

He added he made his decision around Christmas but wanted to wait on announcing his intent until after NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s byelection win in Burnaby to avoid taking away some of the attention.

“I can’t really properly articulate how much being the member of Parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley has meant to me and my family. It is one of the most incredible honours I’ve ever had; it’s been humbling almost each and every day. Work has been challenging and it’s really been a vocation; it’s been a life’s calling.”

Voted by his colleagues across party lines as Maclean’s 2018 parliamentarian of the year, Cullen is the party’s critic for Democratic Reform, B.C. liason and a veteran of 15 years for the NDP caucus.

He joins fellow NDP MP Murray Rankin from Victoria in a growing line of party members choosing not to run, but plans on helping whoever runs for the NDP.

Cullen insists the number of NDP MPs not running again is simply cyclical. For the father of twin eight-year-olds, it was a family decision.

“I’ve talked to my colleagues and all of us not presenting again share a very similar story: It’s about things going on in life. Some of my colleagues are at retirement age or similar to me have served quite a few years either in federal or provincial politics, and now is the time.

“If I were only looking at the political environment right now … I would run again because I think we have a real shot of this government coming down and having a real opportunity,” said Cullen.

He said having a leader who is now an MP matters.

“I have great hope and optimism for Jagmeet Singh and our caucus going into the next election. It’s good to see him in the House [of Commons] finally. And with the current government having the troubles that it’s having, I think we’ll have more than a better offer come 2019[’s election],” said Cullen.

He expressed appreciation for the people who have reached out to him during this time of change and reflection.

“Support from the Indigenous elders not just from the Wet’suwet’en but across the Northwest, personally for me and my family, has been so humbling,” said Cullen.

“I’m more than excited for the future. This has been a wild 15 years in federal politics. I’ve seen quite a few things and continue to be amazed by the strength and fortitude of the people of the Northwest. I look forward to serving and continuing to fight for them in a different way.”

According to Cullen, some prominent people from northwest B.C. are considering taking a run at his seat.

Smithers Mayor Bachrach was at the announcement Friday. When asked he said he was busy running a small town, but seemed a bit dodgy, joking he was walking not running down the trail in Riverside Park.

Cullen said he does not know what’s next for him.

He was in the non-profit and small business sector before being convinced to run 15 years ago by the late Bill Goodacre, a Smithers councillor and former area MLA who recently had the assisted living facility meant to combat homelessness in Smithers named after him.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Screen shot of a cabin somewhere in the Bulkley Valley from rare 1955 film footage of the area.
VIDEO: More rare film footage of the Bulkley Valley in 1955

Can you help identify the locations and/or people in these videos

Shea Long roosts in the Shoot Out in the Telkwa Range. (SnoRiders, Houston/Shea Long photo)
Telkwa Range snowmobiling permit lottery opens

Application period is Oct. 20 to Nov. 20 for snowmobiliers and skiers to gain access to Starr Basin

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read