THE VANCOUVER OBSERVER: As you hit the home stretch leading up to the Saturday vote, how are you feeling?
NATHAN CULLEN: I'm feeling good. It's been an exciting ride – we've been defying some peoples' expectations, and having a good time doing it. We've run the campaign how we wanted to, which is rare in political life. I've been having a good time. It's an honour to be in the conversation. It's been way more enjoyable that people said it would be.
VO: How will you prepare yourself for the convention vote?
NC: I'm going to go for a run – it clears my head. And of course, I'll shower before the convention! The last thing I'll do before the convention is get my head straight.
VO: What is the funniest or most bizarre campaign moment so far?
NC: (Laughs heartily). The funniest, most bizarre moment? I had to follow a singing wiener dog on stage in Nova Scotia. That dog – it was a really hard act to follow. (I was warned), 'Never follow kids or animals on stage.' When that dog sang, I thought, “Oh my God, really?" But it all worked out in the end.
On electoral cooperation
VO: How do you respond the claim made in the last debate that electoral cooperation between political parties would not work – because Elections Canada would penalize the NDP for not running a full slate of candidates across the country? Is that true?
NC: It's a total red herring. First of all, it assumes we're not going to win the joint nomination meetings. Secondly, we'd spend less (because of not running a full slate). People who are not supportive of the idea are realizing there's support for this – so they're finding other reasons to oppose it. I believe in speaking the truth. It's easy to say you want to do politics differently – it's another to propose something. We were told we couldn't get the party to rise to the occasion. Apparently, that's not the case.
VO: What will you do after the NDP Leadership convention?
NC: That depends on what happens on Saturday. It'll be busy either way, I suspect. Either way, the next step – whether I win or not – is to consolidate the group. There's been some tension lately (between candidates' camps). I want to be part of helping resolve that.
Saturday, the remaining voters will vote in run-off voting rounds throughout the day online. In this system, even second-tier campaigns can get a last-minute boost based on voters' second choices, so Saturday is sure to be exhilarating - and possibly even surprising for the New Democrats.
Stay tuned for to The Vancouver Observer for more from the NDP leadership hopefuls.