B.C. election: Horgan addresses Cullen's 'stupid comments' about BC Liberal candidate
B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan looks on after voting in the advance polls at Luxton Hall for the provincial election in Langford, B.C., Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
VICTORIA -- British Columbia New Democrat Leader John Horgan was in Saanich on Monday, responding to disparaging remarks made by a high-profile NDP candidate in the province’s north.
New Democrat candidate Nathan Cullen, who's running in the Stikine riding, faced criticism over the weekend for comments overheard at a recent all candidates' debate.
In a video posted online, Cullen can be heard on a live microphone poking fun at the BC Liberal candidate in the nearby riding of North Coast.
Cullen said Roy Jones Jr., who is Haida, isn't well liked in his community and laughed at his nickname, “Kinkles.”
Horgan said Monday he has since spoken with Cullen and expressed his disappointment.
“No one’s going to work harder than Nathan to make up for his stupid comments,” Horgan said. “I know he’s going to work very, very hard to make up for the comments he has made.”
Cullen tweeted Saturday that he has apologized to the Liberal candidate for his remarks.
“I apologize unreservedly for my comments and have done so personally to Roy,” Cullen said on Twitter. “I need to, and will, do better.”
While the Haida Nation has accepted Cullen's apology, 10 hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan Nation released a letter Sunday calling on Horgan to remove Cullen as a candidate.
“Anything less will be a further signal of disrespect to Indigenous people in British Columbia, and inconsistent with our stated commitment to reconciliation,” the chiefs say in the letter.
Despite the criticism, the NDP leader said he has full faith in Cullen and his working relationships with Indigenous people in B.C.
“No one will work harder on reconciliation than Nathan Cullen,” Horgan said.
The NDP's selection of Cullen as its candidate in Stikine raised controversy last month after the party said a nomination package by Annita McPhee, the former president of the central government for the Tahltan Nation, was rejected for containing invalid signatures from supporters.
McPhee accused the party of breaking its own policy by choosing Cullen, because it says a woman or a member of an equity-seeking group must replace retiring male members of the legislature. She hoped to replace Forests Minister Doug Donaldson.