Prince Rupert left out of federal leaders' visits

By the end of the month two national party leaders will have visited the Northwest, but neither scheduled meetings in Prince Rupert.

Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was in Prince Rupert earlier this week, but was flying to Hartley Bay for meetings before flying back to Vancouver as part of a B.C. tour that included meetings with representatives from Kitimat. Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair will be in the region on Aug. 18 with meetings scheduled in Terrace and Kitimat before a trip down the Douglas Channel to visit Hartley Bay.

Skeena – Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said the original plans for Mulcair's visit did include Prince Rupert, but those plans had to be scrapped.

"This is something we have been working on for quite a while and obviously there was a lot of interest around the Enbridge Northern Gateway and the proposed route. Originally we had planned a circle route, but the logistics got in the way of the transportation and time available to us," he said.

"But Tom and I have spoken for years about coming up to Prince Rupert and going to Haida Gwaii and some of the coastal communities, but it's just been a matter of time ... he'll get here, I have no doubt of it at all."

Nevertheless Cullen, who celebrated one decade as the MP of the region this year, said these kinds of visits show just how important the the Skeena – Bulkley Valley riding is to the country.

"As compared to 10 years ago when I first got elected, the difference in Ottawa and the national media with respect to the Northwest is night and day. People know where we are, they know it is important what is going on here and we expect all national leaders to be visiting and spending time much like they do in places like Fort McMurray or any of the other centres," he said.

"It's not necessarily a vote-rich country, but it is certainly resource rich and politically significant for anyone hoping to form government."

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