B.C. Green Liberal Caucus backs Nathan Cullen for federal NDP leader

They believe that they prevented Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon from becoming premier. And they did it by signing up to vote in the B.C. Liberal Party’s leadership contest last year.

Now members of the so-called B.C. Green Liberal Caucus want to make a difference at the federal level, again through strategic voting. To do this, they’re taking out memberships before the cutoff on Saturday (February 18) for the race to choose Jack Layton’s successor as head of the official Opposition NDP.

“B.C. was kind of, for a lot of people…a lesser-of-two-evils situation between [now premier Christy] Clark and Falcon, whereas in this case we’ll actually be voting for somebody that’s worthy of support,” caucus member Jon Cooksey told the Straight in a phone interview. “So that would be a pleasant difference.”

Their choice: Skeena–Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.

According to Cooksey, the filmmaker behind the award-winning ecodocumentary How to Boil a Frog, Cullen got the group’s support because of his long-standing and passionate advocacy of protecting B.C.’s coast from catastrophic oil spills.

It was Cullen who introduced a motion, passed by the House of Commons in December 2010, that called for a ban on bulk oil tankers on the central and northern coasts.

In a separate phone interview, screenwriter and B.C. Green Liberal member Tarah Stafford said that Cullen is also concerned about the dangers posed by oil-tanker traffic on the southern coast, specifically in Burrard Inlet.

“There’s a million barrels of crude oil a month passing underneath the Lions Gate Bridge,” Stafford told the Straight.

Kinder Morgan Inc. plans to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline to transport more Alberta tar-sands oil from its Westridge Terminal in Burnaby to lucrative Asian markets, by tanker.

According to Stafford, the B.C. Green Liberal Caucus cast about 5,000 votes in the B.C. Liberal race. She suggested that the group’s votes in the federal NDP leadership balloting could be much higher because members are sending out calls to contacts across the country.

“We sort of consider ourselves to be like any other group that’s like a lobby group,” Stafford, a mother of three, said. “We’re lobbying on behalf of our children’s future.”

Comments (14) Add New Comment
Nick Fillmore
Excellent choice. The NDP does not have a great chance of winning a majority government in 2015 -- especially since it is losing support in Quebec. The only way to stop Harper may be through a partnership with the Liberals and Greens. Here is how I think the NDP should be doing some things: http://nickfillmore.blogspot.com/2012/02/ndp-leadership-candidates-ducki...
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Heather Tuite
I'm a huge fan of Nathan Cullen. You don't often see a politician with so much integrity. It doesn't hurt that he's intelligent, enthusiastic, and well spoken. I have a hard time seeing Harper compete against him.
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Eastendian
Renewing my NDP membership so I can vote for Cullen!
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James G
Of course the Greens and Liberals want Cullen -- his proposal results in the splitting of the NDP, the return of the Liberals and the rise of the Greens to significance.

It is forgetting how electoral politics actually work -- my vote, most NDP voters believe that their vote is sacrosanct. It belongs to us and the party we vote for exists because of our backing. We cannot be arrogantly "assigned" to vote Liberal or Green because the NDP leader of the moment decides the riding we live in is not winnable for the party. Cullen's ideas result in a split NDP, independent New Democrats challenging the result in areas of the country they are told to hold back in and "ta-da" a new Liberal government.

That incoming Liberal government, given past history, would be the most right-wing ever, in attempting to regain ground lost to the Conservatives. It would be largely indistinguishable from the Harper administration. Why ever would New Democrats do this? It would make every doorstop and water-cooler conversation we have had with voters dating back to Tommy Douglas a lie. Anyone remember his "black cats, white cats" speech?

It's an open field and Liberals and Greens are free to join the party, vote as they want in a capricious attempt to hobble the NDP with this half-witted proposal but no real New Democrat believes in this plan, full stop.

If Cullen had thought this through, he would be a contender, which at present he still is not.
My vote is for Thomas Mulcair. Moving the party to where the votes are is not an issue so long as the party itself maintains control over it's own agenda -- and here we have a candidate with the skills to be Prime Minister. With Saganash out, second vote is for the surprising savant rising in this race -- Niki Ashton, who I initially misjudged.
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Bruce Hill
James G, Your argument and attitude is exactly why Harper will likely get re-elected. It's not about you and your sacrosanct vote. And its certainly not about the NDP, who while reaching historic highs in MP's, are still highly unlikely to significantly increase that number, especially if all they offer is more self righteous finger wagging at other progressives. We are fighting for our countries soul. Cullen is the only one with a doable plan to get rid of a monster. Canadians are sick of blind, self righteous partisan bickering.
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glen p robbins
Cullen's a pretty cool fellow - I wish him well.
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James G
@ Bruce Hill
I am sorry you disagree but I still see the ability to cast a democratic vote as important -- and judging by the struggle to find that option in the world, many do agree. If choosing a leader for the NDP is not about the NDP, whatever is it about? Canada without Harper is a very desirable outcome but Canada without Harper but with Harperism administered by a rebounded right wing Liberal Party achieves nothing.
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David M
James G: Under Nathan's plan you will get to vote for your preferred candidate - however only the winner of that vote will end up running in the general election against the conservative MP. It's not any different from the current first past the post system, I will gladly have any green/NDP/Liberal MP representing me and if I my preferred NDP or Liberal candidate doesn't end up running in the general election, I can live with that given the likelihood that the riding will be taken by a non-CPC candidate and that proportional representation legislation will then be set in motion.
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kansas
this is great! cullen's plan for cooperation is democratic and peacefully revolutionary with our support. i am uplifted to see the bc green lib caucus coming out in support.

as for fear of "right wing liberal tyranny" following cooperation, it just will not be. don't mistake their positive and energetic mood for a threatening growl. it is exactly this kind of characterization of other parties that is so toxic and counter-productive. there is integrity and good intent in the platforms of all 3 left parties - but whatever, the higher importance is that we cooperate to rid ourselves of harper this time and a plan is the only hope we have of doing that.
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Avril in Vancouver
In addition, Nathan is not proposing to "assign" members of any riding to vote for another party. He has stated very clearly that it would be a decision made in each riding by members of that riding whether they choose to go the cooperation route or not. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5YFaIB6-AQ to hear him speak on this issue. Personally, I agree with his approach because (a) I see it as the only viable way to defeat the Conservatives in the next election, which is critical if we want to even recognize our country in a few years, and (b) the longer-range goal is to replace the old, unfair FPTP system with some form of proportional representation, which will finally ensure that each citizen's vote actually counts. Nathan's got my vote all the way.
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KDH
Dippers and Liberals need to face reality.

The NDP's strength diminished without Layton, the Quebec numbers are in question.

The Liberals are weak and have no shot of rewinning a majority by next election.

I've been active in partisan politics so I know how hard it can be to admit this.. but if we don't team up in some manner next election, the Conservatives WILL win another four years. Their coalition is strong and stable and will thrive through the pushing of bills that continue to be antithetical to both Libs and NDP.

Nathan Cullen is surprisingly charismatic on his own right too. Right now the Libs under Bob Rae are extremely open to this idea. Rarely have the conditions for NDP-Liberal cooperation been so strong.
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RK
Typical dishonest green tactics. These people couldn't care less about the NDP, any more than they could not care less about the Liberals. It also seems very apparent that they don't care about the democratic process, given their attempts to manipulate elections by signing up en masse to any number of different political parties. These people should be weeded out and blacklisted from joining any political party. The only thing these people care about is their extreme ideological agenda.
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Martin Golder
Go to LeadNow.ca for the best plan forward. We need to cooperate to oust harper and bring in a ProRep voting system otherwise the percentage of people who still think traditional politics has any relevance in the new unfolding world will continue to decrease.
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James G
There could be no better paradigm for the federal Liberal Party than when 'The Simpson's' character Kent Brockman. interviews a purported expert on a crisis in the making. Brockman turns to the interviewee and asks, "so, is it time to panic?" The answer is "Yes, yes it is."

It's always a good time to panic from Conservative policies according to Liberals since this is what puts them in office. How many times will Canadians be herded in this direction remains to be seen but I have seen it over and over.

1974: Liberals campaign against the big bad Tory idea of wage and price controls. Liberals win! We get wage and price controls.

1993: "The GST, that's gone!" Jean Chretien face to face on national TV interview in response to a voter's question. He kept the GST.

These two examples, plus the court-ordered flip flop on gay marriage are just so few among so many, weeded throughout with corporate giveaways dating back to the Trudeau administration. Liberals serve the corporate boardroom. They are there as the safety valve for corporate control -- when the Conservatives lose favour, they stand ready to take the reigns but also to deliver the exact same policies.

This is the reason the Liberal Party of Canada is dying. It deserves to. Trying to revive it through accommodating to it's ridiculous "let's panic!" diatribe is counter-productive. Let it die and let someone willing to stand against the Conservative/Liberal agenda have at least one chance to govern.

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