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

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

West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni received some good news about an expansion to its emergency department on Jan. 15, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

The site of the former Arrowview Hotel, on Second Avenue and Athol Street, as of Jan. 14, 2020. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni pressures Arrowview Hotel owner for final cleanup

Demolition finished in June 2020 but site still full of construction material

A Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation guardian took this photo of dozens of vehicles parked along a forest service road in the Kennedy watershed. (Submitted photo)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District looks at enforcement of illegal camping

ACRD currently does not have an existing bylaw service to tackle the issue

Randy Brown, owner of Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue, has five trailers and a motorhome at the back of his property that he is renting to people who had been previously homeless. He wants to put 15 trailers on his property, hooked up to city sewer and water and BC Hydro. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Building owner digs in heels, refuses to remove illegal trailers from property

Port Alberni council gives owner two-week reprieve on remediation orders

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker in Nanaimo fails at fraud attempt, slams door on business owner’s foot

VIDEO: Suspect causes pain and damage in incident downtown Friday morning

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Most Read