BC Métis Federation Members
Re: Aboriginal Issues and the Federal Election October 19th
Members and Partners,
BC Métis Federation writes today to provide insight into the upcoming Federal Election dated October 19th where Canadians, including Aboriginal people, will elect 338 Members of Parliament (MPs) from every province and territory in Canada. The political party that wins 169 seats or more forms a majority government. Less than 169 seats won by any political party will result in a minority government situation and this may have many scenarios’ unfold.
The upcoming Federal Election appears to be a close three way race primarily between the Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats (NDP) with roughly 67 days to go until the election. The Green Party is growing in popular vote but early polls do not indicate their party will be in contention to form government. There are also several other independent candidates and parties which run throughout Canada.
The main four parties in this upcoming federal election have attracted Aboriginal candidates including Inuit, First Nations, and Métis:
Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) (3)
- Leona Aglukkaq (Inuit) – Nunavut
- Rob Clarke (Cree) – Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River
- Floyd Roland (Inuvialuit) – Northwest Territories
Green Party of Canada (GPC) (4)
- Roger Fleury (Algonquin) – Hull-Alymer
- Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi (Kwakiutl/Quatsino) – Cowichan-Malahat-Langford
- Lorraine Rekmans (Algonquin) – Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes
- Brenda Sayers (Nuu-chah-nult) – North Island-Powell River
Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) (18)
- Lisa Abbott (Cree) – Saskatoon West
- Della Anaquod (Saulteaux, Cree, Dakota) – Regina-Qu’appelle
- Philippe Archambault (Métis) – Lanark–Frontenac-Kingston
- Rebecca Chartrand (Anishinaabe, Métis) – Churchill-Keewatinook Aski
- Brian Cowie (Anishinabe) – Peterborough-Kawartha
- Trisha Cowie (Aboriginal) – Parry Sound-Muskokav
- Louis De Jaeger (Métis) – Chilliwack-Hope
- Marcel Isnana (Dakota) – Regina-Qu’Appelle
- Yvonne Jones (Métis) – Labrador
- Lawrence Joseph (Cree) – Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River
- Michael McLeod (Métis) – Northwest Territories
- Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Cree) – Winnipeg Centre
- Don Rusnak (Anishinaabe) – Thunder Bay-Rainy River
- Todd Ross (Métis) – Toronto-Danforth
- Karley Scott (Métis) – Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola
- Hunter Tootoo (Inuit) – Nunavut
- Dan Vandal (Métis) – Saint Boniface-Saint Vital
- Jody Wilson-Raybould (Kwakwaka’wakw) – Vancouver Granville
New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP) (14)
- Cameron Alexis (Nakota) – Peace River-Westlock
- Sandra Arias (Cree) – Battlefords-Lloydminster
- Melissa Atkinson (Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in) – Yukon
- April Bourgeois (Métis) – Regina-Wascana
- Chantal Crête (Métis) – Argenteuil Petite-Nation
- Jonathan Genest-Jourdain (Innu) – Manicouagan
- Rex Isaac (Anishinaabe) – Lambton-Kent-Middlesex
- Georgina Jolibois (Dene) – Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River
- Aaron Paquette (Cree) – Edmonton Manning
- Edward Rudkowski (Innu) – Labrador
- Romeo Saganash (Cree) – Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik–Eeyou
- Carleen Thomas (Tsleil-Waututh) – North Vancouver
- Nancy Tremblay (Abenaki) – Orléans
- Duane Zaraska (Métis) – Lakeland
There are 39 Aboriginal candidates. 10 of which are Métis, running for one of the 338 seats in the Federal Parliament. This number has increased from the last federal election where there were 31 candidates.
The BC Métis Federation is strongly encouraging Métis and all Aboriginal voters to become active and vote October 19th. There have been debates within the Aboriginal community about whether to participate in federal elections but we encourage Aboriginal people to consider voting. Get to know your candidates, understand what each party stands for but specifically what each party stands for on Aboriginal issues. Currently the main party leaders have been vague on details regarding Aboriginal issues and during the initial debate hosted by Maclean’s last week, there was almost no mention of Aboriginal issues.
What is clear is that grassroots Métis and all Aboriginal people across Canada must force the conversations about positions on Aboriginal issues with the local candidates and nationally with party leaders anywhere and everywhere we have that opportunity. There has been not a single mention of Métis issues so far in the mainstream media from any party and the reference to Aboriginal people only speaks to First Nations. However the few First Nations references have been vague and ambiguous.
It appears the 4 main national political parties and their leaders do not appreciate the importance and role Aboriginal people possess in Canada. Aboriginal rights and title remain paramount to economic development in Canada and any progressive party leader should embrace a strategy that will ensure constructive and meaningful development in the future.
While Aboriginal people consider which party to vote for remember that your vote can and will make a difference. Aboriginal voter turnout has been historically quite low and it is estimated that Aboriginal voters could impact 51 of the 338 riding elections on October 19th. With an election where ever seat counts Aboriginal voters can and will make a difference if we individually choose to.
BC Métis Federation encourages Métis, First Nations, and Inuit to get to the polls and elect the political party you want to represent Aboriginal issues in the next Federal Government. The 338 MPs enact law and set policies that affect Aboriginal rights and title and this affects every single aspect of our daily lives.
Together we can be part of the Canada we want to see.
Thank you,Keith Henry President BC Métis Federation
[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BC-Metis-Federation-Federal-Election-Get-Out-and-Vote-August-12th-2015.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download a PDF version of this letter[/ilink]