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MP Cullen declines to enter race to lead BC NDP

Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen said this morning that he will not enter the race to lead the British Columbia NDP.

“For a bunch of different reasons, I can't enter,” said Cullen, the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley.

The Tyee reported in early January that Cullen was considering running, but that with five-month old twins at home the timing was bad.

Cullen said today that his family was supportive of him making the jump into provincial politics, if that's what he wanted to do, but that he felt he'd made a commitment to serving federally. There are still issues, including the proposed Enbridge pipeline across northern B.C. and improving the rural economy, he wants to work on, he said.

Also, he said, vacating the seat would mean there would be a by-election and there's no guarantee the NDP would win. "We know the Conservatives have their eye on British Columbia as a path to a majority," he said.

Cullen said he still plans to help make climate change and energy policy part of the provincial NDP leadership race by talking with each of the candidates and by co-hosting a proposed public discussion on the issues.

MLAs Mike Farnworth, John Horgan, Harry Lali and Nicholas Simons have said they will enter the race. So has cannabis activist Dana Larsen, who today released an endorsement video from American wrestler Rob Van Dam.

Vancouver-Kingsway MLA and health critic Adrian Dix is set to announce his candidacy late this afternoon.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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