Nathan Cullen, unadorned

So here was Nathan Cullen. One man, one mic, one stool, no lectern. Just his name on the screen and him at the front of the tiered stage.

He grasped at a kind of folksy drama. This wasn’t his plan, he said, to be here right now. He was going to be spending time with his wife and his two young sons. He was going to be defending his home against the lawyers who would drive a pipeline “right through the very heart of who we are.” And that—the fight over the Northern Gateway pipeline—was about so much else.

He spoke of defending his fellow candidates against attack. He said things like “I fundamentally disagree with this, my friends” and “This is about family, my friends.” He smiled, then furrowed his brow. He pumped his fist slightly and built himself on repetition (“We will” this and “We will” that). He allowed that he had an idea. “There are some who like it. There are some who don’t like it,” he said. “That’s cool.” He wanted a conversation (a slight concession?). He hoped for unity. And he called his friends to seize this opportunity. “There is nothing more powerful, my friends,” he said, “then an idea who’s come.”

Shortly thereafter he danced off stage to the sound of Stevie Wonder.