Here Are Some Of The Top BC Election Issues In The Skeena… So Far

Salmon, Wet’sewet’en negotiations and the ‘Kinkles’ controversy.

There’s less than a week until people across the Skeena region vote in the snap BC election called late last month by Premier John Horgan. We get that it’s been a crazy year and if you haven’t paying close attention to the election, which takes place on October 24, don’t worry–we’ve got you covered. 

Here’s a guide to the top issues so far discussed by candidates in the Skeena, Stikine, and North Coast ridings. 

Declining salmon

“We’re fishing deeper, we’re fishing different species, we’re disrupting the food chain,” Skeena NDP candidate Nicole Halbauer said during a forum hosted by the Terrace Standard. “All of these things need to be addressed at an international level to ensure we have salmon stocks in the future.”

“We’ve actually got three user groups: we’ve got the commercial fishermen, we’ve got the sport fishermen, and we’ve got the First Nation fishermen, and we all fight for what’s left after the international fishery takes its share,” Skeena BC Liberal candidate Ellis Ross also said at the forum. 

Wet’sewet’en negotiations

“I’m proud that we have been able to at least move off of where we were in January of just this past year, when the entire country was facing crisis to a place where we are in conversation and negotiation,” Stikine NDP candidate and former MP Nathan Cullen said of his work as a government negotiator in the standoff over Coastal GasLink. 

“Nathan failed, the chiefs are back in court, there are more protests, progress deadlines are being missed,” said Stikine Rural BC Party candidate Darcy Repen. 

“He’s opened the door to the First Nations people,” Stikine BC Liberal candidate Gordon Sebastian said of his party’s leader Andrew Wilkinson. “He has an open door policy, there’s no exclusion, he does not wipe us off the map, he says ‘come and sit with us and we’ll start dealing with the problem.’”

The “Kinkles” controversy 

During an all-candidates meeting in Smithers on October 15th, the NDP’s Cullen was caught on microphone making fun of Liberal candidate for the North Coast, Roy Jones, who is Haida. In a remark apparently intended to be private, Cullen says that Jones’ nickname in the Haida community is “Kinkles”, adding, “He’s not well-liked…The guy’s going to get bedrock 20 per cent.”

Shortly afterwards, Skeena Liberal MLA, Ellis Ross, responded on Twitter: “DISGUSTING. NDP claim to be indigenous allies and champions of reconciliation but this is the worst I’ve ever heard. Roy Jones jr is a good man and a good friend. The NDP division strategy should not be allowed in our native and non native communities”.

“He owes an apology to the Haida people,” Roy Jones said

Cullen has since issued a public apology to Mr. Jones: “I’ve since spoken with Roy and apologized to him and spoken with other Haida leadership,” Cullen said. “It was wrong what I said. I take it back entirely and I apologize for the harm that I’ve caused Roy”. 

In a separate statement, Haida Nation president Gaagwiis Jason Alsop defended Cullen.

“Former MP Nathan Cullen has worked hard over the years to represent all of the people of the North Coast with respect. Mr. Cullen has established a good relationship with the Haida Nation and his recent comments do not warrant his resignation or an apology to the Haida Nation.”

The proposed port train loading facility for Terrace

“At the end of the day, I’m confident that the city of Terrace will be, you know, taking all of this information in and our City Councillors — who are elected to make this decision — will make the best decision possible for all community members,” Skeena NDP candidate Halbauer has said

“Terrace needs something to help subsidize their tax base,” BC Liberal candidate Ross argues

Improving students’ school performance

“We could actually say ‘Okay, we’re going to prepare the region, aboriginal and non-aboriginal alike, we’re going to prepare the region for the LNG jobs, the smelter jobs, and any of the other jobs that might be coming up in the Northwest,’” BC Liberal candidate Ross said recently

“And I strongly believe that the more people we have accessing post-secondary, K-to-12, Headstart programs, preschool programs, then the better off we’ll all be,” NDP candidate Halbauer said of providing more government support to the public school system.


If you feel that there’s an important issue that we’ve missed, please let us know. You can email us at:

Written by The Skeena

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