A nomination date has been set by the New Democratic Party to choose a candidate for the Oct. 21 federal election now that Nathan Cullen, the sitting MP for the Skeena - Bulkley Valley riding, has decided to retire from federal politics. (File photo)

Nomination date set to replace retiring NDP MP Nathan Cullen

One candidate confirmed so far and others interested

Kitimat New Democratic Party members have an opportunity later this month to meet the people who want to be the party’s candidate in the Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding for the Oct. 21 federal election.

The NDP need to find a candidate now that Nathan Cullen, who represents the party as the Member of Parliament for the riding, has announced he’s leaving federal politics after a 15-year career.

First elected in 2004 and then going on to win re-election in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015, Cullen announced March 1 that he won’t be running again.

Details are currently being worked out for the May 25 NDP candidate selection meeting which will take place in Terrace, as well as for a mail-in ballot to ensure that as many party members as possible have the chance to vote.

But before that, candidates for the nomination will be traveling to communities within the riding to meet party members and to answer questions.

“It’s been 15 years since we’ve had to do this. It’s going to be exciting to see what happens,” said Dan Mesec, NDP’s Skeena – Bulkley Valley constituency association’s president of the nomination race.

Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach has already been confirmed as a candidate and Terrace resident Amanda Ramsay has also submitted nomination papers.

“I know there are several others who are interested – it’s up to them to announce,” said Mesec.

In addition to the meet-and-greet in Kitimat, meetings are being planned throughout the riding ahead of the nomination selection meeting in Terrace.

“We’re planning those in Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers, Burns Lake and Fort St. James,” said Mesec of the meetings which will take place in the latter part of April.

There are approximately 1,000 members of the NDP in the riding, a number that will grow as candidates sign up new members to support their nominations.

Mesec said people who want to vote have to sign up at least 30 days prior to the nomination meeting. Other political parties are already making their own preparations for the Oct. 21 federal election voting day.

Bulkley Valley resident Rod Taylor has been confirmed as a candidate for the Christian Heritage Party – he’s currently the party’s national leader.

And Claire Rattée, chosen by the Conservative Party of Canada as its Skeena – Bulkley Valley candidate last month, held her first official campaign event in Kitimat on Saturday, March 30.

The meet-and-greet was attended by three Conservative MPs —Michelle Rempel, Blaine Culkins and Glen Motz — in support of Rattée.

Terrace resident Martin Holzbauer has submitted his papers to become a candidate for the federal Green Party of Canada.

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Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach. (File photo)

Amanda Ramsay. (Image amandaramsay.ca)

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