FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Horgan, Cullen apologize for NDP candidate’s comments about Haida candidate

Nathan Cullen had made insensitive comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial

The leader of the NDP, along with the candidate at the heart of the issue, are both apologizing after insensitive comments made by Nathan Cullen Thursday (Oct. 15).

Cullen, a former federal NDP MP, is running for the MLA spot in the Stikine riding during the Oct. 24 provincial election. His comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial, the BC Liberals candidate for the neighbouring North Coast riding, sparked criticism on Saturday after his comments at an all-candidates debate.

“He’s not well-liked — he’s Haida — in his own community,” said Cullen, referring to Cheexial. “The guy’s going to get bedrock 20 per cent.”

Cullen then went on to make fun of Cheexial nickname.

On Saturday, Cullen responded to a BC Liberals staff member’s tweet criticizing his comments.

“I apologize unreservedly for my comments and have done so personally to Roy. I need to, and will, do better,” Cullen tweeted.

During a campaign stop in the Vancouver Island’s Courtenay-Comox riding Sunday, NDP Leader John Horgan addressed comments made by Cullen during an all-candidates forum in Smithers.

“I spoke with Nathan yesterday, I expressed my disappointment in his comments. As I said, what you say privately, you should be able to say publicly. There’s great remorse, Nathan has great remorse, but he has represented the area as a Member of Parliament for over 15 years, the people in the region know his heart, and I am confident that no one will work harder than Nathan to make up for his mis-speaking.”

When asked if there will be any additional actions by the party, Horgan said there would not be.

“The repercussions are that Nathan is feeling devastated by this on a personal level. I believe no one will work harder than Nathan now, to rebuild the trust with those who may have started to question that. I’m understanding in the region, people are standing behind him, the Haida Nation is standing behind him, as are other Indigenous groups throughout the territory, and I know Nathan will be working hard, hard, hard to make up for his mis-speaking.”

This is not the first time Cullen’s campaign has come under fire. The NDP was criticized for choosing him over Tahltan Central Government president Annita McPhee, who had said the party was going back on their equity policy.

ALSO READ: BC Liberal candidate resigns after comparing free birth control to eugenics


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Simon Gibson watching the vote count come in at the Best Western Hotel in Mission. Kevin Mills photo.
Abbotsford-Mission riding one of the closest races in the province

BC Liberal incumbent Simon Gibson leading by under 100 votes

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

BC Liberal candidate Bruce Banman speaks at his campaign headquarters Monday evening. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News
Liberal Bruce Banman declared winner in Abbotsford South

Banman defeats NDP, Green and Christian Heritage Party opponents

Abbotsford West BC Liberal candidate Michael de Jong greets a small group of supporters at his campaign office Monday evening. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News
Liberal Michael de Jong declared winner in Abbotsford West

Incumbent MLA wins again in Abbotsford West, has held seat since 1994

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Most Read