One of the most recognizable New Democrats in the country is not going to have his name on this year's ballot after winning five straight federal elections in B.C.
Nathan Cullen, 46, stated in a letter that he's stepping aside from federal politics when his current term ends.
He's represented the sprawling B.C. riding of Skeena–Bulkley Valley since 2004.
"Fifteen years ago, I was approached by my friend, the late Bill Goodacre, to run for federal office," Cullen wrote in his letter. "It seemed like an audacious idea to me at the time, as I had never before considered running for any public office.
"And yet, since then, together we have defended the north coast from oil tankers and fish farms, protected the Sacred Headwaters, and secured the Great Bear Rainforest," he continued. "From the advancement of Indigenous rights and title to the protection of our rivers and coasts, from fighting for better jobs to demanding more accountability in our government, these past fifteen years have been a great adventure and challenge. I have experienced this work as a powerful vocation and calling, and I have given it my full heart and mind."
Cullen is the second B.C. incumbent NDP MP in two days to announce that he's not running again.
Yesterday, Victoria MP Murray Rankin announced that he won't contest the next election.
Cullen has been a more moderate voice within the NDP caucus. When he sought the party leadership in 2012, he proposed working more cooperatively with the Liberals and Greens by holding joint nominating meetings to defeat the Harper government.
In an interview with the Straight at the time, he said that his model of cooperation was built around what the then ruling Vision Vancouver was doing at the local level under then mayor Gregor Robertson.
“If Greens all stay in their bunkers and New Democrat types stay in theirs and Liberals stay in theirs, then the Conservative candidate tends to do really well and win," Cullen said.
In that race, he came third, finishing behind Tom Mulcair and Brian Topp. Cullen did not enter the 2015 NDP leadership race.
Cullen focused a great deal of attention over his political career on environmental issues, Indigenous rights, and ethics in government.
"Aside from being a father to Elliot and Isaac, and a husband to Diana, I have had no greater joy and privilege in my life than representing the people of Skeena-Bulkley Valley in Parliament," he wrote in his letter. "From Fort St. James to Masset, from Bella Bella to Atlin, the relationships, lessons, and guidance that you have shared will remain with me for the rest of my life. I am blessed by the friendships I have made on this journey.
"Before being elected, I made a simple promise to myself: that on the day I left politics, I would leave with my family, my health, and my integrity intact. Thank you to the people of the northwest for keeping me grounded in this promise. You have helped me stay true to our shared values—hard work, honesty, and a sincere desire to come together and make a difference. I am humbled by the passion, generosity, and determination of the many volunteers and excellent staff I have worked alongside."
He also extended best wishes in the next election to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his caucus colleagues.
On Global B.C., Keith Baldrey said there are rumours that Cullen might make the jump to provincial politics, perhaps in the Skeena constituency, which is held by B.C. Liberal Ellis Ross.
The B.C. NDP has not many MLAs outside of Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver, so Cullen could help fill that gap.