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October 18, 2011

Nathan Cullen asks for mandate to co-operate for new politics

“It’s time to let a progressive majority have a progressive government.”

Ottawa—NDP leadership candidate Nathan Cullen today said he is seeking a mandate from New Democrats to co-operate with progressives across the political spectrum. 

Specifically, Cullen said as leader, he would seek joint nomination meetings with progressive, federalist parties in some Conservative-held seats.

Announcing his leadership bid on Friday, Cullen said he “didn’t want to just beat Stephen Harper, I want to beat the way he does politics.” 

Today, he said New Democrats’ proud history of putting progressive ideas to work and newfound strength let the party lead the conversation on how to do politics better. 

“The shared Canadian values of co-operation and consensus building are needed to tackle the challenges of our time,” he said.  “It’s time to let a progressive majority have a progressive government.”

Cullen said he does not a support a full merger.  But also said that he senses a moment where people from across party lines are open to new approaches to defeat Harper, and asked people who feel that way for their support.  He also said his own experiences and those of Parliaments that featured co-operation convince him that working with others achieves more.

“I am convinced that there is a hunger in Canada, far removed from Ottawa, among people who pitch in every day to make things better—and wonder why the political establishment can’t,” he said.   “I think we can, and that Quebec’s new openness to progressive federalism makes now the time.”

Cullen said he believed the NDP leadership race would revolve more around how the party wanted to do politics than specific policy planks.

“I’m a proud New Democrat.  Proud of my party’s history and hopeful for its future,” he said.  “I am also a progressive Canadian who has yet to receive the kind of government this country’s progressive majority wants.

“We have, on issues from climate change to basic economic fairness, not lived up to our potential and it’s time we did.  By working with others who share broad policy objectives to remove Stephen Harper from office as soon as we can, and usher in something better,” he said.

Cullen is a four-term MP from the northern British Columbia riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley.

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