Premier John Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)

Premier John Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)

Who is or may be running in Stikine in the provincial election

Cullen nomination sparks controversy over NDP equity policy

After rolling out dozens of spending announcements and updates in recent days, B.C. Premier John Horgan has officially terminated his minority government agreement with the B.C. Green Party and called an election for Oct. 24.

Opposition parties demanded Horgan not call an election a year early, as B.C.’s COVID-19 cases increase to the point where the province has the highest per-capita infection rate in Canada.

B.C.’s election law specifies a minimum 28-day campaign period with an election falling on a Saturday, so the next available date from Monday’s announcement is Oct. 24. The law currently specifies the next election in the fall of 2021, but permits the lieutenant governor to accept a recommendation for an earlier vote.

ALSO READ: Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

Here are some potential candidates in the Stikine riding:

BC NDP:

After more than two decades in political life, Doug Donaldson, B.C.’s forest minister said he is not running for another re-election. He has represented the riding since 2009 and served as a Village of Hazelton councillor for 10 years before that.

“After 22 years in public life, it’s time to get back to the balance of spending more time on the land with family and friends, both in the backcountry and at home on Gitxsan territory,” Donaldson said in a statement Monday (Sept. 14).

ALSO READ: MLA Doug Donaldson announces he won’t be seeking re-election

Instead, the party enlisted veteran federal politician Nathan Cullen.

Cullen served as the federal NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley from 2004 to 2019. Cullen ran for the leadership of the federal NDP in 2012, placing third. He went on to serve as the House Leader for the Official Opposition, Finance Critic and NDP critic for Environment and Climate Change and Democratic reform.

ALSO READ: Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

His nomination, however, announced just hours after the election call, immediately sparked controversy because it appears to contravene the NDP’s equity policy, which states when a man retires from an NDP-held seat his replacement should be a woman or “equity-seeking” man, i.e., person of colour or member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Annita McPhee, three-time past president of the Tahltan Central Government, who was intending to seek the nomination, had already called on Cullen’s bid to be nullified after he announced he was seeking the nomination prior to the election call.

McPhee sought the nomination for the federal NDP in Skeena-Bulkley Valley in 2019, eventually losing to current NDP MP Taylor Bachrach.

McPhee holds a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria, and has been an advisor and director on several provincial and national boards.

British Columbia Liberal Party:

On Sept. 22 the party announced that Gitxsan Hereditary Chief and lawyer Gordon Sebastian would be the candidate for Stikine. Since 2003, Sebastian has served as executive director of the Gitxsan Treaty Society.

Sebastian declined to comment on the election call saying he wants to focus on three issues. The first is pay for ambulance attendants. He said these health workers are overworked and underpaid in the region and a Liberal government would immediately address that issue.

They also want to get the Hazelton pellet plant project back on track, which he said has been derailed by lack of commitment from the provincial government.

Finally, he said, with the province facing a second wave of the coronavirus, hospital capacity in the region is sorely inadequate to deal with a potential influx of patients.

Wanda Good ran as the BC Liberal candidate in the 2017 provincial election, finishing second to Donaldson with 39 per cent of the vote.

BC Green Party:

The BC Green Party is in the process of finalizing its list of candidates and will be making announcements in the coming days.

Christian Heritage Party of British Columbia:

Telkwa’s Rod Taylor said he will be the CHP’s candidate in Stikine again this election, after placing third in the riding in 2017, earning 834 votes — just over nine per cent.

Taylor worked in the lumber industry in Smithers and Witset before becoming leader of the federal Christian Heritage Party in 2014. He served as the provincial wing’s interim leader from 2013 until Sept. 14, 2020, when Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson was elected provincial leader.

ALSO READ: CHP leader Rod Taylor pens new book

BC Ecosocialists:

In an August interview with The Interior News, the fledgling BC EcoSocialist Party’s Skeena and Bulkley Valley regional director Edward Quinlan did not rule out running as a Stikine candidate in a future election, but said at the time there was far too much work to do in organizing the party before entertaining those kinds of thoughts.

The BC Ecosocialists Party could not be reached for comment.

ALSO READ: New B.C. political party ‘further left than the NDP, greener than the Greens’

With Files from Quinn Bender, Rod Link, Thom Barker, Ashley Wadhwani

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
COVID-19 exposure notice shuts down Hazelton school

Closure to last for one week and school is to be sanitized

Dave Livesey, right, has been elected as Telkwa councillor defeating Klaus Kraft (middle) and Erik Jacobsen. (Interior News composite photo)
Dave Livesey elected to Telkwa council

Livesey received 60 votes to Klaus Kraft’s 51 and Erik Jacobsen’s 34 in preliminary results

Smithers Local Health Area reported just one new case of COVID-19 from Feb. 14-20. (BC CDC graphic)
Local weekly COVID infections drop to one

The Smithers Local Health Area (Houston to Witset) reported a single case between Feb. 14 and20

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Most Read