As the next Parliament looms menacingly, the NDP must be weighing the pros and cons of a leaderless Opposition facing a bellicose and belligerent Conservative majority government, and coming up decidedly short. Sooner or later the question of who will fill Jack Layton’s considerable shoes has to be resolved, and members of the NDP caucus are starting to quietly think about it. The latest to consider it is the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Nathan Cullen:
Skeena NDP MP Nathan Cullen is spending the next couple of weeks thinking about running for job left vacant when Jack Layton passed away last month.
Cullen said party members are now thinking about a leadership race after first getting over the shock of Layton’s death from cancer.
“I’ve been thinking about it for the last few days. I’m going to spend a couple of weeks and see if it’s the right fit,” said Cullen late last week.
I like Cullen for this gig, but he’d definitely be an unconventional choice. Where most federal NDP leaders (apart from Tommy Douglas and Audrey McLaughlin) have been from the east, Cullen’s from the rural west and like most rural MPs, seems more responsive to his constituents than party line.
Cullen proved his maverickyness last year when he voted along with a few other rebel MPs (and the CPC government) for the Private Member’s Bill to scrap the long gun registry. Layton’s policy was not to whip votes on PMBs, which freed NDP MPs to vote as their constituents wished. Most voted to save the registry, but Nathan Cullen, whose constituency is a vast untamed swath of sportsman’s paradise in northern BC, wasn’t one of them. Ultimately Jack Layton managed to save the registry by convincing some of his MPs to vote against scrapping it, but Cullen stubbornly stood his ground — to do otherwise would have been political suicide. But the vote caused a lot of anguish, fear, loathing, and you-name-it among the NDP’s urban supporters, and I don’t suppose they’ll be forgetting it anytime soon. Therefore, as deservedly popular as he may be with his constituents, Cullen probably doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance of winning the leadership.
But leadership is an issue that has to be dealt with, and if the convention being held in January, sooner is better than later. What do you think? Who might be a good leader for the Dips? Why?
And somewhat off-topic but equally important in its own way, weren’t you relieved when you clicked onto this site and for the first time in three(3) days your eyes weren’t scorched to smouldering piss-holes by this? HAHAHAHA!