Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen Previews 2018

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says there will be plenty of items to watch out for in 2018.

Cullen is touring the riding before heading back to Ottawa next week to be part of the hearings taking place regarding the Ethics Commonsioner's report that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated conflict of interest rules when he vacationed last Christmas at the private island owned by the Aga Khan

One of the items he'll be looking to discuss with the Liberal government is fishing reform and notes there are few things the federal government can do to help out the industry along the North Coast.

"Having conversations early on when stocks are in crisis so we know when closures are coming. This will allows the industries to react and adapt their own plans. Last minute announcements are very harmful for this area. It's something people are relying on. People are catching commercial fish, running lodges, guides, or just taking their kids out fishing."

Sticking with the water, Cullen is also looking forward to seeing a ban on oil tankers traveling through North Coast waters pass into law.

"We've been looking at issue for 30-40 years with campaigns and battles. The government has introduced the bill. It's not as good as one I first introduced, not as comprehensive, as the one I introduced a few years ago. One of the potential options we're giving is to have the enforcement of that tanker ban be done jointly between the government and North Coast First Nations. There's still some mistrust, understandably with North Coast residents on how sincere this bill will be enforced. It also fits in with reconciliation. We'll be looking more and more for those things."

Cullen says he'll also be interested in seeing how the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls moves forward following to visits to towns across the country, including Smithers. 

"Making sure the commissioner remains accountable and public about what they are doing. There's been poor communication, secrecy, commissioners resigning and not showing up. There's been something wrong. It's been wrong from the start. The buck stops with the government which is the Prime Minister and his cabinet on why something that seems to be straight forward is so problematic just getting from "A " to "B"."

Cullen will also look to introduce legislation on rural connectivity to internet and cell phones.

"We have these blank spots, we poor to no coverage in some places. I think we should see this as a basic and essential service across Canada. We need to start putting some national standards into place that if an area falls below on, and then the government has to get them there by a particular time. I think this could be something positive for Canadians."

Cullen will also look for suggestions and input on the name change to the Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding in hopes that a new name will better reflect the area.

He says it was mistake trying to move forward with a proposed name so quick and looks forward to spending more time on finding the perfect name.

"I screwed up. I shouldn't have tried to get a consultation done in a month. In a riding this big, how do you talk to everybody or those that are interested? What I've learned is that I need to do consultations properly. Don't rush it. We want a name that actually means something to us. I want to able to say a name that somebody will already know where I am talking about. It was a good learning experience. It was humbling." 

Cullen also mentioned there are items he'll be bringing up in the coming months, but says it's still too early in the developments stages to discuss publicly.

"Stay tuned."