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COMMENTARY · 9th March 2012
Merv Ritchie
If you haven’t registered to vote for the next leader of the NDP it is too late. If you have and you are reading this then we urge you to consider Nathan Cullen. That is if you haven’t already decided to vote for him. If you have decided to vote for someone else then we urge you to reconsider.

This won’t take long; it is a short reasoning essay. Via historical and current evidence we will show you why, if Cullen becomes the new leader the NDP will become the majority governing Party of Canada. No other candidate has the attributes which will ensure the NDP will gain far more seats in the next election than they have now. Almost all others candidates, it can be demonstrated, will cause voters turn away from the NDP. Cullen will bring more to the NDP.

Thomas Mulcair is currently considered the front runner. He is known in political circles as “Meltdown Mulcair”. He is extremely arrogant and has more ability to divide the current supporters of the NDP than to unite them and bring more people to the Party. He is an opportunist, nothing more. He previously was a Liberal and had been courted by and considered joining the Conservatives. His vision is nothing but leadership. He is a power groupie and will be exposed for that if the NDP elect him. He is another Stephen Harper. And if elected as leader, Harpers media doctors will crush him.

Watch a YouTube clip of Mulcair actually threatening a journalist here. Nathan, even under the most harsh and extreme criticisms and attack maintains an honest and even humorous composure.

Another video clip from the House of Parliament where Mulcair simply loses composure. This is not the style Layton encouraged.

Brian Topp has absolutely no charisma. He has never even run in an election. He is a backroom boy much like Micheal Ignatieff or Stéphane Dion of the Liberal Party. If the NDP elect this man, much like an accountant, people will yawn when he stands in front of a camera. A common Scottish phrase in regards to this man is he is a milquetoast; ie. timid, unassertive, spineless, easily dominated or intimidated. He may look good amongst the NDP faithful at the debates but in the real world, the harsh combative public arena, he will melt like butter in the warm sun. The NDP will all look like timid, spineless fools without a real leader. Do you remember the Conservative attack video clips of Iggy and Dion? Just imagine how childish they will make Topp look!

Another major contender is Peggy Nash. She is without a doubt a very competent and confident person. Standing next to Topp and Mulcair she shines like the bright hot sun that could melt Topp into an ever widening pool of yellow crusting grease. Nash however is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Before Layton the NDP had Alexa McDonough as their leader. Before her was Audrey McLaughlan. Who remembers these two women outside of the NDP faithful. Almost no-one. Almost everyone remembers Ed Broadbent even though he left the leadership position in 1989.

If the NDP wish to go back to the era of 20 or 30 seats, then elect Nash or Niki Ashton. Ashton is as confident woman and even more exciting than Nash. She comes at the job application with as much charm and vibrancy as Cullen though again, not the right time. The NDP have found their footing again with the outspoken confident voice of Jack Layton. To go backwards would be a great loss. This is politics, not a kindergarten school lesson on right and wrong. Most people understand that a woman is likely more competent to manage affairs in a calm and understanding compassionate manner. But it is obvious to all that if the NDP want to be elected as the governing party of Canada, to gain seats not lose then, it will require a male voice like Jack and Ed’s.

So, besides Nathan, that leaves us to consider Martin Singh and Paul Dewar. Dewar lacks the ability to speak French fluently. He has a little charisma but nothing like Cullen. Cullen is completely fluent and can crack a one liner at the drop of a hat and have the whole audience chuckling. Singh, like the women who are running, not the right time or place. There is no place for racism or bigotry in our society, however once again this is politics not a forum on decency and political correctness. Singh has clearly demonstrated his tenacity and skill. As a Cabinet Minister he will be one of the best. Sadly though, he will not bring more people to vote NDP.

Nathan Cullen has gained more respect and votes from the people he has been elected to represent in his Riding, election after election. He has been fully accepted by the first nations population as their leader too. During all the debates he has taken the unexpected questions and retorts with the grace of a seasoned diplomat responding with kindness and usually great humour. Never once has he shown intolerance, like Mulcair, or impatience. Even under unreasonable pressure Cullen stands tall and patient. When allowed the opportunity to respond he does not belittle his attacker, he offers understanding and compassion for the person and their position.

And Cullen is a true Canadian, one who offers compromise. This is what was at the foundation of the Canadian Medicare system and the Canadian Old Age Pension and security plan; NDP compromise with the governing Party of the day.

Cullen has suggested ensuring these truly Canadian values continue and prosper the NDP need to bring the cooperation of Canadian values into the open public arena. Canadians love to cooperate. It is what Canadian Farmers right across the Country did throughout the last 130 to 140 years, maybe more. Farmers shared their equipment and skills with their neighbours. If one family needed a barn or home built, the entire community would just join in and get it done. Even here in Terrace, BC, years ago when the community needed an arena or a curling rink, the business people and community members all donated their time and energy and got it done.

Cullen appears to see our government the same way. The Liberal Party and the Green Party have similar values. These values are starkly opposed to the Conservative values of the Stephen Harper government. Cullen pulls no punches in this regard. He sees the future of the great nation of Canada at the threshold of a fall from grace into a pit of despair.

Cullen isn’t claiming the NDP can’t or won’t win a majority all on their own without the cooperation of the Liberals and Greens. And it is this writer’s opinion that with Cullen as leader they can and will. All Cullen is stating is Canadians, as a majority, do not like the direction Harper is taking Canada and they, on mass, want to change that.

Cullen is only stating what every Canadian is thinking. And Cullen is the only job applicant who is being honest with those who will select the successful candidate.

Mulcair, as a leader, will be blunt, aggressive and intolerant. Just like Stephen Harper. That is why the Conservatives courted him; he is cut from the same cloth. Topp, the insider, will put the NDP into the dungeon in the same manner Dion and the insider Ignatieff did to the Liberals.

Cullen attracts and displays the same kind of vibrant energy Layton did. He warmly and graciously welcomes everyone in his presence. People walk away from Cullen with a feeling of being listened to and understood. People remember Cullen long after he has left the room, they laugh about his quip of Harpers Housing Plan, more prisons. That is just the way Jack is, er I mean Cullen. Only Nathan Cullen belongs in the house that Jack Built.

Years ago I lowered my head in sadness after I saw David Orchard get screwed by the Conservatives and then how Peter McKay betrayed him. Then I lowered my head again in shame when I saw how Bob Rae got passed over for the leadership of the Liberal Party for Iggy and Dion. Both those party elites betrayed Canadian Values for something else. Today I pray for Cullen. I pray, not as a Conservative, a Liberal or an NDP’r. I pray as a Canadian. Cullen may just be our last hope.
Nathan and Jack meeting at the Airport
Nathan and Jack meeting at the Airport
Nathan with Jack listening to Paramedics in Terrace
Nathan with Jack listening to Paramedics in Terrace
The bigger picture
Comment by Samantha on 13th March 2012
This was not longer a simple vote to abolish the gun registry. When they attached strings they changed the game.

Had it been a simple vote to abolish the gun registry, Nathan would have continued to do as he had done, vote in favor.

However James, the fact that you say you will not tolerate being lied to by your MP, but have openly and many times defended both the provincial and federal government for decisions they have made repeatedly over lies is interesting.

You will not tolerate it from your MP, just from your choice of government?
Jim, you just don't get it.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 12th March 2012
"A lot of people" do not a majority make. When Cullen referred to "the wishes of my constituents" was a that a majority he was referring to? I don't think so because I know "a lot of people" who were not asked so that could negate your lot of people.

This doesn't even have anything to do with whether I believe Allan Roch or whether I thought it was originally a good idea to implement. The fact is the money was spent, you can't get it back. will the police be able to use it now that it is in place, they seemed to think so. But aside from all that, you talked about a majority. The definition of that is 50% plus one and it is not up to anyone but you to prove a statement you made. If you can't prove it, why don't you just say so.
One last comment....
Comment by James Ippel on 12th March 2012
I will go back to Mr Cullens first vote to abolish the Registry and his comment after the vote; "I was sick to my stomach for three days when I realized I had voted against the wishes of my constituents.

To the best of my knowledge those wishes have not changed, and I have heard that from a great number of people, both here and in other parts of the riding.

For those who want the registry abolished, you come up with 50% + 1. There, the ball is in your court.

Remember when Alan Roch first introduced the registry, and his comment after the first year was that it saved 300 lives? A lot of you must have believed him, while in fact I don't believe it saved even one life. Think back to Mayerthorpe where four souls were murdered with a Registered Long Barrel weapon. The registry did'nt help then and it won't help now.

Have a nice day, and goodbye..........

ya - who ARE the 51%
Comment by mbw on 12th March 2012
So James:

You have proof that the majority of us in this riding wanted to get rid of the gun registry? Please produce it.

And I would be much happier if you took your attitude down a few notches. You are giving gun-owners a bad name.
"the majority did"?
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 12th March 2012
OK , how did WE determine that at least 50% plus one wanted to get rid of it and when? I know it is a sticky point but making assumptions is always tricky.
Me again................the bad penny
Comment by James Ippel on 11th March 2012
Hi Karen. I am not afraid of losing my guns, nor am I a RABID DOG. I do not like my MP lying to me. He said he would vote against the Gun Registry in two elections, and in the last vote he again voted against getting rid of the Registry. I was watching CPAC when the vote was being taken and Mr. Cullen voted "NAY." to striking down the Gun Registry. He voted the same way in the first vote. Furthermore, you are a real sick puppy if you think that I would feel I was going to be assimilated with child molesters and murderers if I did'nt register my guns. For your information, my weapons are registered, and where in hell are you coming from????? I have both Handguns, and Long Barrelled weapons, and before my retirement I was a Government Certified Firearms Instructor, qualified to re-certifie "ALL" Law enforcement Officers in the Province of B.C.
One other thing that really irked me was when I sent Mr Cullen an email with a simple request, the answer I got really p!ssed me off: " Message not read, Automatically deleted." This has since be rectified, but I never did get an answer as why this was done. I am not beating a dead horse, and this is not the only issue I have with our MP.
As for your comment Helmut: "most of the time MPs are required to use their own judgement" is OK, but Mr Cullen made it quite clear in his last brochure he sent out that the way he voted was his "OWN PERSONAL POSTION" because he did not agree with the anti gun legislation. Quite frankly, he should listen to his constituents, and put personnal feelings aside
To mbw: I never said everyone in the riding wanted to get rid of the Gun Registry, but the majority did, and that is how our MP should have voted. He is, and always has been aware of the feeling of the people in Skeena-Bulkly Valley
Yes Helmut, he will probably will be re-elected in the next election----but that is a whole different story.
excuse ME
Comment by mbw on 11th March 2012
Hey, who says everyone in the riding wanted to get rid of the gun registry? I sure as hell didn't.
Phone calls, emails, etc.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 11th March 2012
On any given issue no matter how many dozens of phone calls you get stating a position you are never going to hear from the vast majority of constituents. Most people don't let you know one way or the other; they prefer to let you know at the ballot box. You also know that you are never going to please everyone on an issue and, as I said before, few people base a vote in an election on a single issue like gun control. There are some people for which this issue is almost sacred.

Most of the time MP's are required to use their own judgment. They make a decision based on the current information (ie. the money has been spent, it serves a purpose for the police, and so on) and they expect to be held to account if they are wrong.

So my bet is still on. Nathan Cullen will win again in the next federal election. If I am wrong, I will buy James a coffee and a muffin at Tim Hortons.

Comment by Apocalypse Now on 11th March 2012
Maybe you would have been more supportive of Nathan if he had managed to get some of the funds from the security budget during the G8/20 summits ,so he could build a gazebo in Terrace, next to a fake lake with the perimeter outlined by nice paving stones. Would that have made you more supportive?
Another question.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 11th March 2012
How then did it become an "accepted fact"? How did the constituency "make it plain"? I don't know very many people who would base a vote for or against on purely one single issue.
Beating a dead horse
Comment by Karen Dedosenco on 11th March 2012
Wow James, you are like a rabid dog on this long-gun issue. Are you a big-time gun enthusiast who fell for the insinuation that you would lose your guns over the bill or that you were going to be assimilated with child molesters and murderers if you didn't register your guns?

I myself am totally against the unregulated ownership of guns - both handguns and rifles - but I am not frothing at the mouth over the loss of the registry under the Harper government. I know the sitting government is not in tune with my personal stances on most issues and I know Nathan cannot please every one of his constituents...especially the ones who work overtime to find fault.

I too did not agree with Nathan's vote, although it was on the second vote where he voted for eliminating the registry, but I was smart enough to know that it didn't matter which way our MP voted because the Conservatives have a majority. Nathan's vote was purely proceedure that wasn't going to change the outcome anyway.

If you continue trying to beat this dead horse people will get the idea that you can find no other fault with Mr. Cullen and will conclude that he might not be so bad after all.

Had he not voted James
Comment by Samantha on 10th March 2012
You would have then complained that he was not a man of conviction, that he just wants his cake and eat it too. the rest of the bill WAS bad. He asked for ammendments that were refused.

It's like american politics, they tackle something on to a bunch of other bullshit and then expect you still vote the same. This wasn't simply about the long gun registry and in this case I support that.

I did support him voting to scrap the registry, but had he voted to support this bill, he'd have been a different man all together.
Nathan's expenses
Comment by Samantha on 10th March 2012
We are significantly further from ottawa than nunavit. Nathan's populated riding is the geographical size of poland. It's gonna cost to make sure you get to and from ottawa and to see the people in your riding.

This is just a reality. It costs on average $600 round trip from terrace and vancouver alone, that doesn't include vancouver to ottawa.

I don't know what the costs are from nunavit, I'm assuming you've checked since you've assumed the travel costs would be much higher?
Comment by James Ippel on 10th March 2012
It has been an accepted fact by Nathan that his constituents wanted to get rid of the Registry. It was an issue in two elections-I guess you must have missed them. No, we did'nt have a damn referendum on the issue, but the vast majority of the electorate in Skeena-Bulkley have long made it plain that they wanted to get rid of the Registry, and they have made no bones about this issue, and Nathan is well aware of the feelings of his constituents. He probably got this message by the phone calls and emails, and personal contacts requesting that he vote down the Gun Registry.
Why don't you just admit it Helmut, Nathan voted against the wishes of the majority of his constituents. He allowed his personnal feelings and the "whip vote" (pussy) direct him on how to vote on this issue, all for trying to garner votes from the Quebec portion of the NDP Causus.
Thinking back a few years, I think you are also anti gun and this explains your support of Nathan in this issue.
MP or PM
Comment by methinks on 10th March 2012
Great photo. Great man. Great leader.
A question.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 10th March 2012
It is stated that, "he promised to vote the way his constituents wanted." Did we have a referendum on this issue that I missed? How did we determine "what his constituents wanted"?
Is that it?
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 10th March 2012
James you found one thing to use as an excuse ?That's awesome.
Questionable actions.
Comment by James Ippel on 9th March 2012
I find it difficult to support anyone who has twice betrayed his constituents by voting to retain the long gun registry. He promice to vote the way his constituents wanted but in the first vote, he voted for the registry because it was an omnibus bill-he could have abstained but did'nt. Remember the famous phrase: " I was sick to my stomach for three days when I realized what I had done." On this last vote, two NDP members stood up for their constituents and voted against the long gun registry. They are now being ostersized by their own party, while Mr Cullen is trying to garner votes from the Quebec segment of the NDP. In his most recent brochure, Mr Cullen said he could not "personally" vote to defeat the registry, because he did not "personnaly" agree with the Bill. Unfortunately, he is our representative, and I thought we me it abundantly clear--"SCRAP THE REGISTRY".
Betrayed again by our elected representative, and he wants to be lead our country, when he won't even take direction from the people who elect him, but goes with his personnal believes.

Good bye Mr Cullen.
Comment by chrisp on 9th March 2012
i agree nathan can do a good job, but i still can't forgive him for the past, when he had the highest expense claim and flatly refused to divulge the details of his expenses.... hell, his expenses were more than agluulaq (sp?) the mp for nunavut..... travel and other expenses just have to be higher for her, but no.... a few years ago his expenses were 3 x that of hers.....go figure