BC NDP candidate Nathan Cullen has come under fire after a hot mic caught him mocking an Indigenous candidate. The Stikine candidate was caught making this comment during an all-candidates debate over Zoom.
“The guy’s gonna get bedrock 20 percent … his name is ‘Kinkles,'” Cullen said while snickering. “He is not well-liked, in his – he’s Haida – in his own community.”
Cullen was mocking BC Liberal candidate Roy Jones Jr., whose indigenous name is Cheexial.
Cullen has already issued an apology stating, "I apologize unreservedly for my comments and have done so personally to Roy. I need to, and will, do better."
Ellis Ross, the B.C. Liberal candidate for Skeena, tells NEWS 1130 Cullen’s comments are “absolutely disgusting," particularly as this entire BC Provincial Campaign has been embroiled in a social justice narrative by the BC NDP.
“I mean we’re trying to get more first nations involved in the political system of B.C. in Canada, and we have another politician, trying to keep us out. That is disgusting behaviour," Ross concludes.
Cullen is already considered a controversial candidate as he seemingly violated the NDP's equity policy to become the candidate for Stikina. In the NDP mandate, the party emphasizes an equity policy, essentially stating that a riding nomination must go to a member of a marginalized group, if there is a straight white male in contention. In this case, Cullen was seen as a star candidate by John Horgan, as Cullen previously served as MP for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.
Thus indigenous activists were already upset with Cullen being the choice as there was an Indigenous alternative. This comment has likely only made things worse for the candidate.