03/23/2012 04:41 EDT | Updated 05/23/2012 05:12 EDT

NDP leadership candidate Brian Topp asks for NDP's trust

Nathan Cullen told New Democrats that his controversial idea to cooperate with the Liberals and Greens in the next election is open for debate when he delivered his final pitch to voters at the party's leadership convention.

Cullen was the first of seven candidates to deliver his "showcase" presentation. It was low-key and featured just the candidate on the stage, speaking without notes.

Cullen started by saying that running for the leadership was not in his plans for this year, that he intended on spending more time with his wife and young sons and he planned on devoting his work to defending his home in British Columbia.

The MP for Skeena—Bulkley Valley vowed, for example, to fight the Northern Gateway pipeline.

The proposal that has set Cullen apart in this race is his idea for New Democrats to cooperate with Liberals and Greens in the next election and only run one candidate in Conservative-held ridings.

The idea has been rejected by all of the other candidates in the race and has received a mixed reaction from members.

Cullen acknowledged that the idea is controversial and he said that’s fine with him.

"We should never be afraid of ideas," he said. Cullen also promised a "democratic conversation" about the proposal if he is elected.

"I’m running for leader, not dictator," he told the CBC’s Rosemary Barton after his speech.

Cullen, 39, also promised to keep the party united.

"This is about family my friends. The real fight is not in this room," Cullen told the crowd, saying the real fight is against the Conservative government and against issues such as social inequality.