Saturday, January 27, 2018

MP Nathan Cullen clarifies comments from recent statement on Liberal's summer job restrictions

Skeena Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen
found himself in the centre of  a political
tempest this week in Ottawa
The normally sure footed and loquacious MP from Skeena-Bulkley Valley found himself in a wee bit of a controversy this week in the nations capital, after making an original statement to condemn the Liberals approach to summer job grant applications.

Mr. Cullen's troubles on the week began when he took a stance on the Liberal's rather strong terms on who can, or can't apply for the funding for Canada Summer Job opportunities.

Earlier this month the Liberal government outlined the new parameters for the funding, including a requirement that any applicants for the funding, pledge their respect for abortion rights and the rights of LGBTQ Canadians.

At the core to the debate over the controversy, is Section 3.1 of that program, the advisory for Eligible Employers. (click to enlarge)

More background to the reaction to that controversial addendum to the program can be reviewed below

Religious leaders call on Trudeau to reverse funding policy for summer jobs program
Canadians don't need a Liberal values test
Liberals have unknowingly proposed something revolutionary in jobs grant fracas
Government clarifies 'core mandate' in Canada Summer Jobs grant, but attestation remains unchanged
Canada summer Jobs attestation specifically targets activities, not beliefs: Hajdu
Liberal MP says abortion clause in summer jobs program 'not right'
The Trudeau government is over-reaching on abortion and summer jobs
What is really behind the outrage over the summer job program rules
How the Canada Summer JObs program became a freedom-of-religion controversy
Could the new rules for the Canada Summer Jobs program be expanded to other grants?
Can Justin Trudeau tolerate real diversity?
No summer jobs for you! And other decrees from Bishop Trudeau
Trudeau uses 'alternative facts' on abortion to discriminate against people of faith
Trudeau's stubbornness over summer jobs application defies common sense
Justin Trudeau should read the Charter of Rights
Trudeau government stands firm in clash with faith-based groups over summer jobs

Following the introduction of the program, Mr. Cullen spoke to the issue, with his comments raising a few eyebrows among more than a few Canadians

NDP's Nathan Cullen adds his voice to those condemning Trudeau government's summer job abortion stance
NDP blasts reproductive-rights rules for summer jobs program

By appearing to take the side of those expressing concerns about that requirement, Mr. Cullen found himself in some trouble with the NDP base, something which required a clarification from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh this week, who outlined the NDP's ongoing commitment to reproductive rights.

Jagmeet Singh affirms NDP's support for reproductive rights after MP Nathan Cullen's misstep

Such was the fall out from the Skeena MP's wording towards the issue (and his belief that his words had been misinterpreted), that he returned to the discussion in order to clarify his theme, taking to his twitter feed more than a few times last week to try and head off the controversy.

However, judging by the media attention that was generated from the weeks events, his tweets probably could have used a more expansive clarification,  before the reaction towards them became as widespread as it seems to have been.

Cullen apologizes over 'offensive' rule supporting women's reproductive rights
NDP MP Nathan Cullen apologizes after critique of anti-abortion job grant changes

Of note on this issue, the NDP MP limited his commentary towards the theme to his twitter feed, and making no mention of the ongoing tumult on either his constituency website, or through his often used Facebook portal.

It's the second time in recent months that Mr. Cullen seems to have gotten out ahead of a topic and had to back track to make things right.

In the fall, he announced that he was putting forward a recommendation that the name of the Federal riding he represents be changed from Skeena-Bulkley Valley to Skeena-Pacific Northwest, citing a survey he had conducted on his social media portals.

Such was the reaction that he received to that suggestion, that he again had to return to his social media accounts in December to set things right, in the case of the name change, to withdraw the project for now.

You can review more items of interest on the federal political scene in Bulkley Valley-Skeena from our archive page here.

A wider overview of national political developments is also available on our political blog D'Arcy McGee.

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