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B.C. election 2020: Former MP Nathan Cullen projected to win in Stikine

NDP Finance Critic Nathan Cullen asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on April 23, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld.
NDP Finance Critic Nathan Cullen asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on April 23, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld.

Former longtime MP Nathan Cullen appears set to triumph in the riding of Stikine, with Global News projecting he will win 48 per cent of the vote for the BC NDP in Saturday’s election.

Cullen beat out BC Liberal candidate Gordon Sebastian, who earned just under 28 per cent of ballots cast.

The riding is B.C.’s most northwestern electoral district, and stretches from Smithers in the south, to Lower Post near the Yukon border in the northeast, and the Alaskan panhandle in the west.

More: Full B.C. election coverage

Prior to joining the provincial NDP for this race, Nathan Cullen was a four-term federal New Democrat MP representing Skeena-Bulkley Valley, which covers much of the Stikine riding.

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After 15 years, Cullen announced in 2019 that he wouldn’t seek re-election after 15 years in the House of Commons in Ottawa.

Read more: B.C. election 2020: Find your riding and candidates

In September, the BC NDP nominated him as its candidate for Stikine after incumbent Doug Donaldson chose not to run again. Donaldson had won in 2017 with 52.1 per cent of the vote ahead of his BC Liberal challenger at 38.7 per cent.

Click to play video: 'BC NDP’s Nathan Cullen makes insensitive comments about Haida BC Liberal candidate'
BC NDP’s Nathan Cullen makes insensitive comments about Haida BC Liberal candidate

Cullen’s nomination caused a stir, as the NDP’s policies state that when a white male MLA over the age of 40 retires — in this case, Donaldson — he must be replaced by an equity-seeking individual, such as a woman, person of colour or member of the LGBTQ2+ community.

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Annita McPhee, an Indigenous advocate who served three terms as president of the Tahltan Central Government in northern B.C, said she had put her name forward, but was turned down.

Read more: BC NDP election hopeful calling on party to apply gender mandate, block Nathan Cullen from consideration

In response, the BC NDP said McPhee did not have an active party membership and did not gather enough eligible signatures.

And last weekend, Cullen had to apologize after he was caught on a hot microphone talking about Roy Jones Jr., the BC Liberal candidate in the nearby riding of North Coast.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots were requested across B.C. this election. As mail-in ballots cannot be counted until after election night, these results are not final.

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