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Skeena-Bulkley Valley
Federal Election - 2004 - élection générale

Update/Mise à jour:
12:51 PM 6/26/2004

Prediction Changed
La prévision a changé
10:30 PM 6/25/2004

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Green Party/Parti Vert:
Roger Colin Benham
Andy Burton
Nathan Cullen
Frank Martin
Liberal Party/Parti libéral:
Miles Richardson
Christian Héritage Chrétien:
Rod Taylor

Population 2001
Number of electors 2000
Nombre d'électeurs

Incumbents/Les députés:
Cariboo-Chilcotin (0.9%)
Philip Mayfield
Prince George-Bulkley Valley (19.3%)
Richard Harris
Skeena (79.7%)
Andy Burton

2000 Result/Résultats:
17,045 46.23%
10,165 27.57%
6,703 18.18%
1,428 3.87%
1,531 4.15%

(6/192 polls, 595/53321 voters)
2000 Prediction/Complete Results

Prince George-Bulkley Valley
(50/206 polls, 12195/59156 voters)
2000 Prediction/Complete Results

(174/174 polls, 50246/50246 voters)
2000 Prediction/Complete Results

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24/06/04 Smithers native
Email: [hidden]
A three-way race here, but I give the advantage going into the final days to Nathan Cullen, the NDP candidate. I've been up in the air about who to vote for - NDP or Con (anything but Liberal), but Andy Burton is a good person, but has been pretty nondescript as an MP and Cullen has impressed me as a stand-up, smart and energetic guy. For me it comes down to who will fight for us. I've decided to go with the NDP and I think that alot of people - even enough people - around here will make the same selection.
23/06/04 Al
Email: alnu_cephmiar@hotmail.com
Another Northern Mingle Mangle... not as confused as Churchill River but confusing enough as it is...
Any one of the three major party candidates *can* win (though had this been a pre-adscam election this would have been a Grit slam dunk, along with much of BC. Amazing how fast things change isn't it?) whatwith the mix of First Nations, Blue collar workers, Fundies, Greenies... and so on and so forth, Skeena-Bulkey Valley is a very diverse riding and could be Too Close well into election night... on the other hand one of the three major party candidates might steamroller the others.
Who knows. I certainly don't...
21/06/04 BB
Email: mike@teambc.ca
This is a 3 way race, but the conservatives should lose this seat. For a couple of reasons:
1) People in the area realize that Burton is a weak representative.
2) The vote here is populist. The Mulroney connection to the New Conservatives will hurt them here--note the non-exsistant PC vote in 2000.
Traditionally there is a strong NDP vote here, but:
1) Candidate is an unknown.
2) Inheritance-tax will hurt fishing families. It doesn't take long for a boat, license, and gear to add up to $1million. The policy makes Cullen look out of the loop, as he has had to concede the issue at debates. The UFAWU/NDP relationship has been strong here in the past--the NDP campaign office in Prince Rupert is usually in the Fishermen's Hall. But with this issue, they look like they are out to touch with an important part of there traditional support base.
3) Miles Richardson is a BIG name in the Native community and can probably steal some of the traditional native vote from the NDP.
This leaves us with Miles:
1) The Liberals did well here in 2000 (about 30%)
2) Conservative support is way down in BC since 2000.
3) I concede that the NDP are up in this riding, but it won't be enough--as long as Miles can get some of the Native vote--and he is very respected and has huge name recognition.
20/06/04 Verity
Email: [hidden]
This one's going NDP. My contact in this riding has given me no positive feedback on the liberal campaign, and there is a motivated anti BC liberal cross section of the population, added to by opponents of the oil and gas initiative. Nathan Cullen is the only candidate thats been working the combinations of those constituents...added to that is the useless performance of the conservative candidate over his term and his party's perceived anti-Aboriginal stance.
20/06/04 Jeffrey
Email: [hidden]
On wonders why Nathan Cullen is even running in this election, what with his repeated endorsements in the media of Miles Richardson (most recently in the Queen Charlottes Observer). A number of times now Nathan has said Miles would have made a perfect NDP candidate. Perhaps Nathan should drop out and support Miles then, since he thinks so highly of his abilities. I agree with Nathan, Miles is the best candidate to represent the people of Skeena-Bulkley Valley. Perhaps that's why Nathan has adopted a "mini-Miles" persona on the campaign trail. Nathan is using his messaging and language, adopting his policy, and as mentioned has even conceded Miles is the better candidate. This raises the question, why vote for mini-Miles when you can have Miles himself?
20/06/04 Robert
Email: [hidden]
Each town in this riding is different but what I have seen and heard from around my part of the riding is that the N.D.P. will sneak in. Rod Taylor of the C.H.P. will take the religious vote away from Burton. The Liberal campaign is lifeless with no signs to be found. The riding has been strong N.D.P. in the past and will go back to them. The only question for the N.D.P. is Gun Control.
13/06/04 Dave
Email: [hidden]
I believe this will be a close race with Nathan Cullen winning this seat for the NDP. Andy Burton and the Conservatives will be a close second place finisher but his lack of presence over the last term will end up with him being unseated. My original view heading into the election was likely a Liberal vote. But a weak campaign by the Liberals and a passionate candidate for the NDP has changed my viewpoint.
The first all candidates meeting showed no love for the incumbent MP Burton. In fact it was a roasting of the current MP Burton by the other candidates and by the audience. It also became apparent that the Liberal candidate Richardson was clearly uncomfortable supporting many of the Liberal initiatives. NDP candidate Cullen managed to display a unique ability to engage the audience and had a strong closing.
Two surprises of the race in the Skeena would appear to be the absence of a Liberal presence and the strong presence of the NDP candidate. However, the Liberal campaign in the Interior of the riding has been non-existent. The lack of a Liberal campaign leaves one wondering whether the Liberals appear to be hoping for strong support from the Native vote and his profile on the Coast. Meanwhile, the NDP elected a younger candidate, Nathan Cullen, who has a background in facilitation and strategic planning. His recent introduction to politics in the riding has been made up with what appears to be the most hectic schedule of visits to the many communities throughout the area. The relatively younger age of Cullen, his ability to communicate and his strong sense of passion links this candidate to the areas NDP legacy. It is worth noting that the NDP's legacy in the riding is largely associated with Jim Fulton who was also a younger MP when first elected but was an effective representative for the riding.
With 15 days to go this will be an interesting race to watch.
13/06/04 Karen
Email: [hidden]
I feel confident that Nathan Cullen will take this riding. Lawn signs on private property show much more support for the NDP than any other party and from observing campaign offices, there seems to be much more activity around the NDP office than the PC's and Liberal's.
The 'All Candidates' Forum' in Terrace was extremelly informative. Cullen came across as more knowledgeable than the other candidates and was by far more capable in giving clear answers to questions put to him. Richardson appeared way out of his league and, in my oppinion, didn't really believe the liberal jargon he was spouting. Burton became easily ruffled and wasn't up on his parties platform on some issues. At the end of the evening Cullen obviously swayed some voters his way.
11/06/04 Buffalo Soldier
Email: [hidden]
I don't think my friend predicting a liberal victory has noticed that the liberal office in Kitimat hasn't had the lights on in two weeks and that divisions between the aboriginal leadership and their people are becoming more and more clear.
Look for Richardson to come a weak third on June 28, 2004.
11/06/04 North Wind
Email: [hidden]
It is time to move this one over to the NDP column as a victory for Nathan Cullen. There hasn't been this kind of excitement in the northwest over an NDP candidate since Jim Fulton. Burton and Richardson signs almost don't exist in front of homes while Cullen is everywhere.
The aboriginal popilation is quickly figuring out (the select few who acutally support Richardson) that he can't win and are now making the easy choice between Cullen and Burton. Burton supporters are quiet and have little excitement about the campaign. One Conservative supporter noted some of the members are discouraged after having almost as many leaders as they have had names over the last few years.
The Globe and Mail interviewed northwest mayors and of which the vast majority stated that Cullen would take the riding.
I must say that I am confused by right wing parties spending so much time "self-identifying".
10/06/04 Jake
Email: [hidden]
Yes, fascinating race. Minus the Miles Factor, this would have been a clear NDP pickup.
There's strong disaffection with the Liberals here, compounded by anger at the BC Libs -- and a melding of the two in the popular imagination. Meanwhile, Conservative Burton is vulnerable: His rural-conservative core may be immovable, but he has also depended on a populist vote that found expression through Reform/Alliance. That segment won't migrate automatically to the corporate-associated Conservatives. The NDP's super-articulate Cullen could claim a large segment of that populist vote -- especially given Burton's low profile and passivity -- while reviving the traditional NDP support in Skeena.
But Miles Richardson does change the dynamic. Here we have a known community leader -- with some capacity to transcend the Liberal albatross through personal name recognition. Still, his decision to go Liberal is puzzling, and he's headed for third place. That said, he could potentially steal enough of Cullen's centrist vote to secure a win for Burton.
On Jeffrey's inheritance tax note: This may, rather, illustrate why the Liberals don't play well here. I've seen little press play here, but street buzz seems to be about Liberals using fishers as a tool to defend the mostly-urban wealthy targets of this tax. (The tax exempts $1M of assets plus small businesses.) At best, it looks desperate. At worst, it looks like manipulation designed by the "Big Red Machine." Political machines of all stripes, especially Liberal, don't play well here.
This will be a close finish between NDP (Cullen) or Conservative (Burton) -- with the Liberals (Richardson) playing a pivot role. My NDP prediction is pure gut
06/06/04 LHR
Email: [hidden]
I have been in this riding now since 1989, and seen both NDP and Consevative member, both provincely and federaly. Over the years, none have impressed me particually.
This year, the NDP have put up a native canadite which may well bring in a good part of the Native vote. However there are divisions in the native commumity and the vote is not to be relied on. There is a strong union presence in Kitimat and this may be expected to vote NDP. I do not belive that there is any realistic of the Liberals and the greens taking this seat. The question is what effect they will have on other parties especally the NDP.
I think that the conservatives will take the seat again, Andy Burton is still popular, but it will be a close race.
28/05/04 Jeffrey
Email: [hidden]
I've spent some time in Skeena lately and I think this is a really interesting race, and I think it could well break for the Liberals.
Let's look at the candidates. The incumbent, Conservative Andy Burton, hasn't gotten rave reviews for his first term, hasn't been high profile in the riding, and business and community leaders feel he hasn't delivered for a riding with a lot of pressing economic development issues, like the Northwest Corridor, a container port and a cruise ship terminal. He was even barred from the podium at the recent cruise terminal opening in Rupert.
The NDP has traditionally been strong in this riding, before the rise of Reform, and much of the native vote, which as previously noted is high in Skeena, has gone NDP. But the NDP has nominated a low-profile, young candidate in Nathan Cullen with little visibility with traditional core NDP supporters on the coast. Layton has pulled the NDP up but mainly in the cities, the rural, blue-collar usual NDP supporters are unsure of him. That distrust will mushroom in Skeena in the wake of his foolhardy deathtax proposal, which while excluding family farms still would punish fishing families looking to pass on their boat to the next generation. That won't play in this riding, and shows a disconnect between the urban NDP leadership and the people in rural coastal Canada.
The Liberals have nominated Miles Richardson, who emerged from a hard-fought, eight-way battle for the nomination. He has been labelled a "star candidate" by the Liberal Party, is popular in both the native and non-native communities, and with people looking more at the person then the party this time, he is gettng serious thought from people disatisfied with Conservatives and NDP. They also see a potential cabinet minister, which would be a great benefit for this riding.
This is still going to be a very tough battle. Richardson will do well in Rupert and the Charlottes, Cullen and Burton are stronger in the interior. Native turnout will be the key, and the team that works the hardest may well win.
25/05/04 Howard's End
Email: [hidden]
Miles Richardson's candidacy definitely makes it more difficult for the NDP to pick this one up, but Skeena is traditional NDP territory and the candidate, Nathan Cullen, has proven to be young, energetic, and articulate. It will be a horse-race but I think Cullen will take it by a slim margin.
25/05/04 Jermaine Defoe
Email: [hidden]
It would appear from the COMPAS poll that the NDP is doing extremely well in the Kootneys and the North. Like Kootneys-Columbia, this seat should at least be considered too close to call: NDP 43 CON 36 LIB 17 OTH 4
25/05/04 Buffalo
Email: [hidden]
First, Iona Campagnolo may bristle at Bernard's contention that Miles Richardson is the "biggest name ever" to run here. Perhaps, Jim Fulton's ego may be tweaked as well. Nevertheless, Richardson provides a very interesting dimension to the race. The Liberals have been competitive in recent elections and now the opportunity is whether Richardson can galvanize the First Nations vote. He has three things in his favour- (1) the NDP have nominated a lightweight who is unlikely to edge Richardson on the centre-left; (2) Well respected Larry Guno is NOT running this time leaving the First Nations vote open to Richardson; and (3) Richardson will be perceived as having clout if elected MP, perhaps cabinet material. This point will not be lost on small business elites in various communities. Burton still the favourite but no doubt that this is a two-way race all the way.
/05/04 Bernard
Email: [hidden]
Yes, I seem to have made an error in my numbers on the aboriginal percentage of the population and am corrected. I based my figures on some quick extrapolations from provincial riding numbers. But still, the 26% aborginal population is a large significant block of voters and one the highest aboriginal population ridings in Canada. Also, since the census three years ago the region has lost a lot of population, most of it non aboriginal. I suspect the aboriginal population is now 30% aborginal.
Aboriginal people in BC tend to vote Liberal - why they support the part of the imfamous Trudeau/Chretien 1969 White Paper I will never, ever understand. Last time the NDP ran a strong aboriginal candidate (Larry Guno) and took a lot of potential Liberal vote. He did well compared to other NDP results.
Miles Richardson is the biggest name to run in this riding ever.
The NDP nominated a minor flag carrier and that is it, they do not have a candidate in place that has any chance of winning in this riding. At best he will blunt the Green vote, but this is a riding where the NDP could come 4th this time behind the Greens.
The First Nations in this riding have a higher turn out rate than in elections than the general population (look at polls based on reserve federally and provincially over the last 10-15 years and you see a 5% higher turnout on reserve than in the general population)
Miles Richardson needs to get one in five non aboriginal voters to win the riding. Andy Burton needs to take well over 3/4s of the non aboriginal vote to be secure in winning. The Northwest aborginal leaders are going to make sure that they have a leader of theirs in Ottawa as an MP
Andy Burton's best chance would have come from a split aboriginal vote.
13/05/04 DL
Email: [hidden]
NDP pick-up - open and shut case. The NDP took 17% of the vote here in 2000 when the NDP province-wide took 11%. Now NDP support in BC is clearly going to be about 30% - suggesting about a 20% increase per riding. The NDP has a very long history of holding Skeena going back to the 1950s before the Reform Party apostasy came in.
At the same time the Conservatives are dropping like a stone in BC. The fact that all those populist direct democracy policies championed by the Reform party are now being jettisoned by the Conservatives will hasten the CPC decline in this area. The sight of non-populist neocon stuffed shirt Stephen Harper getting a warm embrace from Brian Mulroney will further cement the alienation of old Reform supporters from the new CPC.
Assuming NDP support in BC triples to 30% (as seems very likely), the NDP in BC has to gain a swath of new seats. If not in Skeena, where else?
12/05/04 Ashley Morton
Email: ashley.morton@utor...
Okay, I really think that thee NDP posters are dreaming in technicolour here, in their posts that predict an NDP victory. Here are some problems with their reasoning:
(By the way, all my numbers are from http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/products/standard/fedprofile/RetrieveTable.cfm?R=FED03&G=59025)
-As people have said in many of the other BC Ridings' fora, provincial and federal politics just don't line up in BC. The NDP of your union card in Prince Rupert (and of your anger against Gordon Campbell) just isn't the Jack Layton "More Money for Public Transit" NDP.
-The area has lost a whole schwack of population in the last ten years (hence the geographically larger riding) and the people who are left aren't socialists. They're either a) religious conservatives (People declaring themselves Christians are 65% of the population, as compared to 55% in the rest of BC), or b) First Nations.
As for the Liberal vote, someone earlier posted that the riding was about 40% First Nations, thus engendering a Liberal vote for Richardson. Unfortunately, the number is much closer to 25% (26.65%)
Let's get serious. This is a rural BC riding. We all love close races. We all love to pretend that races are closer and more exciting than they really are. But this is still a slam dunk for the Conservatives. Burton beat his closest contender by 4000 votes last time, and the polls from the Bulkley Valley that got added are stereotypical Northern BC Conservative.
As a footnote: Dumbest Electoral Redistribution Award: Half of the Bella Coola Valley (total pop. 2289) is in Skeena - Bulkley Valley, and the other half is in Carboo - Prince George. What were they thinking!
02/04/04 Mike P.
Email: [hidden]
Based on past results and evaluating against current polling trends, this riding will go NDP. The NDP candidate is young and articulate, and there is a great deal of anger against the provincial BCLiberal government that will dampen support for the Conservative incumbent.
01/04/04 Nick Boragina
Email: kee_empire@hotmail.com
Looking back at history, specifically the 1974 election, we see the Liberals have had a history of winning here, and other "NDP" ridings. The NDP is taking a very urban approach this time, and I think the Liberals may just be able to pick up enough votes from the NDP, and to take this riding on the split.
It's a narrow margin I am thinking of here, and I may be wrong. I'll reserve the right to change my prediction though.
29/03/04 Bernard
Email: [hidden]
Miles Richarson is the Liberal candidate. He won the nomination after several rounds of voting.
I am curious, how many people voted in the nomination, how Liberal members are there and who is running for the NDP.
If the First Nations vote comes out, then the Liberals can win this.
NDP have nominated Nathan Cullen of Smithers - sounds a lot like me with respect to work. I do not see him as a well enough known candidate to win in the riding. I do not see any strong connections to the First Nations of the Northwest, though he seems to be well liked among people in the Bulkley Valley.
20/03/04 Bernard
Email: [hidden]
This riding has a very high aboriginal population - Nisga'a, Tahltan, Tsimshian, Haida and Gitksan. All of which vote.
There are a host of major aboriginal leaders vying for the nomination
Bob Hill - Tsimshian
Miles Richardson - Haida
Harry Nyce - Nisga'a
A solid aboriginal vote for a Liberal will win it for them on that strength alone. They are about 40% of the riding's population.
No matter how good Andy Burton is, he can not win against a solid aboriginal block. I would say Miles Richardson would the easiest one for him to defeat.
20/03/04 Liu Bang
Email: [hidden]
The addition of the conservative Bulkley Valley polls are not helpful to the NDP or the Liberals, but worth noting are a couple of factors: the CCF/NDP's deep roots in Skeena (which is still 80% of the riding); the fact that even in 2000 when the NDP was at 11% in BC, they still took nearly 20% of the vote in Skeena; and, the NDP candidate who is young, energetic, and articulate. The poster who suggests that short of running a sasquatch, the NDP in the interior and the north won't be macho enough for voters isn't doing the voters there justice.
20/03/04 Mike D
Email: [hidden]
The NDP is more than doubling its BC support from the last election. Any riding where they finished close to 20% in last time will be heavily targeted this time. A weak incumbent makes likely an NDP win here.
20/03/04 Nick Boragina
Email: kee_empire@hotmail.com
The question here is if the NDP can get it's old and historic vote back.
19/03/04 Neal
Email: nealford@sympatico.ca
If it appears that the Conservatives have a chance at ousting the hated Liberals, who get mired more deeply in scandal with each passing day, then the Conservative candidate, if he/she is worth a tinker's damn, will win.
By all appearances, the Conservatives will elect a western leader, so I forsee a sweep in the west, dousing Layton's dreams of another 1988 with cold water.
17/03/04 K. Glowinski
Email: [hidden]
Skeena will most definitely go Conservative. Consider that the riding is made up of Prince Rupert, the Queen Charlotte Islands, Terrace, Smithers, and now the Bulkley Valley.
While Prince Rupert is a union town, due to the pulp mill's former presence and strong fishing community, the rest of the riding, Terrace and Smithers, are staunchly right-wing, sometimes religious, and always show a strong support for Conservatives (be they Alliance or Reform in the past).
The NDP candidate is an unknown, and a bit too fluffy for the harder, northern constituents. The last NDP to hold the federal seat was Jim Fulton, who had a stauncher, rougher edge; this works in Skeena. Fluffy, moderate, peace-and-love types can pack their bags - this is not their riding.
Andy Burton has been a very popular Member of Parliament. He arrives in the wake of Reform MP Mike Scott, who was rarely in the riding and kept a low profile. Burton, on the other hand, is very active in communicating with constituents, is personally approachable and friendly, and does well in relations with community stakeholders.
The Liberals in the riding are back to looking for re-runs and political has-beens. Terrace and Smithers, the Conservative heartland of Skeena, are fed up with the Liberals, their sponsorships scandals, and lack of Western awareness.
This riding will stay Conservative. In fact, I predict the Conservative vote will increase.
17/03/04 Objective Observer
Email: objectiveobserver2004@yahoo.ca
Skeena was held by the CCF/NDP for the period from 1957 to 1974. From 1974 to 1979 the seat was held by the Liberals. The NDP again held the seat from 1979 to 1993. Thereafter the seat has been held by Reform/CA with the NDP and Liberals vying for second place. In the 2000 election Larry Guno, a Nisga'a, ran for the NDP. If in fact Miles Richardson, also a Nisga'a, will run for the Liberals, then he will receive votes from his community. At the present time, I think this seat is too close to call. Once the election has been called and provincial voting trends have been ascertained
through polling, a clearer picture can be established.
15/03/04 M.W.
Email: mijawara@yahoo.com
Skeena-BV is a top-tier potential pickup for the NDP in BC. New Democrat Nathan Cullen, a facilitator and activist from Smithers, will face Conservative MP Andy Burton, and a yet-to-be-decided Liberal (most likely BC treaty commissioner Miles Richardson). The NDP took 20.96% here in 2000; Burton, running for the first time, grabbed 42.72%, and a low-profile Liberal 29.11%. Redistricting has left this riding more favourable to the Conservatives (transposition of votes shows Burton with 46.23%), but the incumbent is perceived as distant and ineffective, and Skeena is a historic NDP stronghold (ex-MPs Jim Fulton and Frank Howard are local icons). Poll numbers in BC put the NDP at 25%+, a level which puts ridings like Skeena-BV within reach. This will be a race to watch, with post-Adscam Liberal votes bleeding both left and right.

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