Elections: ‘As natives you have to sit at the table’

You know every election is the same, they knock and promises are madeLos Glen Hare, Ontario’s regional chef. He believes communication with the provincial and federal governments has improved when it comes to managing the effects of the pandemic. But there is still so much to do, he said.

He recently organized a meeting between the leaders of several First Nations and those of the parties running for the June 2 elections. A question-and-answer meeting focused on rights deriving from the treaties, the protection of territories, healthy housing and mental health. Only Doug Ford, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, was absent.

Participate in decision-making

If Chief Hare wanted to change anything about this election, it would be Aboriginal participation in political decision-making. For example, he recognizes that the economic development of Northern Ontario is important, but would like to see all communities taken into account.

All these drilling activities that you see in the province take place on our land, in our backyard. Very often, leaving us with nothing, he said. Indeed, mining projects on the Ring of Fire territory divide the indigenous communities of the region.

Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare.

Photo: CBC/CBC

With regard to the housing crisis, Glen Hare recalls that it is particularly acute in Indigenous communities, but they are often left behind. He points out that thousands of homes are built in Toronto every year, but the climate is not the same in the isolated communities in the north of the province.

I have always advocated that the government give us funds to meet our construction needs in the summer and not on a similar schedule in the south of the provincehe said.

Another priority that emerged during the discussions was mental health, which has deteriorated significantly in some communities. He hopes the next administration will not turn a deaf ear and will take steps to quickly put in place programs to prevent an already palpable crisis.

The weight of the native voice

Assistant professor at the Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies at the University of Ottawa and Anishinabé of the Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, Veldon Coburn, points out that there is no precise data on the participation rate of the communities. this percentage remains low in federal elections.

It is difficult for some to feel involved with politicians who don’t always knock on their door and systems that operate outside their communities. Mr Coburn also recalls that a relationship of distance and mistrust has developed. There is also the feeling of not voting for the government of a system in which we do not recognize ourselveshe explains.

There is also colonial resentment, you vote for a government that in many ways is still the oppressor.

A quote from Veldon Coburn, assistant professor at the Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies, University of Ottawa
Veldon Coburn in an online interview at his desk.

Deputy at the Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies at the University of Ottawa and Anishinabé of the Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, Veldon Coburn

Photo: Radio Canada

There is also the fact that the reserves are areas under federal jurisdiction. % des personnes autochtones vivant en dehors de ces réserves, ce sont les décisions provinciales qui touchent leur quotidien”,”text”:”Mais pour 50% des personnes autochtones vivant en dehors de ces réserves, ce sont les décisions provinciales qui touchent leur quotidien”}}”>But for 50% of the indigenous people living on these reserves, provincial decisions affect their daily lives.remembers Mr. Coburn.

Université de Montréal’s Doctor of Political Science, Simon Dabin, also points out that the demographic weight of Aboriginal people is becoming increasingly important. Currently, at the federal level, there are only five rides that are predominantly Aboriginal, but we can assume there are about twenty rides where the Aboriginal demographic weight is significant.

This demographic weight is increasingly felt in political parties presenting Indigenous candidates and platforms that better serve the needs of Indigenous countries.

A quote from Simon Dabin, Doctor of Political Science, UdeM
Simon Dabin, in an online interview in an office.

Simon Dabin, Doctor of Political Science

Photo: Radio Canada

The problem is that, according to him, the conflicts of competence between the governments have very often delayed projects, especially with regard to better access to drinking water or in the field of health. Governments have long been blamed. But colonialism remains the main reason for the socioeconomic divide between First Nations and the Canadian population.he remembers.

The incumbent MP and NDP candidate for Keewitinoong’s driving and Kingfisher Lake First Nation member Sol Mamakwa regrets that the two levels of government are shrugging off responsibility.

When I’m in Queen’s Park, I find that most of the time the government will use the courts’ excuse to do nothing. Whether it’s housing, a mental health crisis, health, access to drinking water…

A quote from Sol Mamakwa, NDP candidate in Kiiwetinoong

In the equestrian center where he runs, there are 14 long-term boiling water recommendations. It is incomprehensible that, according to him, the province does not act faster. If it was in Toronto, Ottawa, Milton, that would be unacceptable. Ontarians should be treated equally when it comes to accessing services.

I, Alain Bartleman, attorney and member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, remind us that the provincial government still has jurisdiction over local civil matters. In the field of drinking water, the province can explain permits and permits and lend communities a handhe assures.

Representativeness in government

Indigenous representation also remains low among candidates competing for seats in the Queen’s Park† Prior to 2018, only one candidate who identified as Indigenous had been elected to MPP in Ontario: Peter North, running Elgin in the 1990s.

Since then, this number has increased, notably with the emergence of two new districts with significant indigenous populations:

  • Mushkegowuk-Baie James (Northeast), won in 2018 by Guy Bourgouin, who identifies as Métis
  • Keewitinoong (northwest) where the elected voters won in 2018 by Sol Mamakwa of Kingfisher Lake First Nation

Suze Morrison, former MP for Toronto Center, was the first woman of Aboriginal descent to sit on the seat Queen’s Park† She fought mainly for Aboriginal people who lived in urban areas.

Sol Mamakwa poses outside for a photo.

Kiiwetinoong riding candidate Sol Mamakwa says Elections Canada needs to take more steps to build relationships and build trust with First Nations.

Photo: CBC/Logan Turner

Sol Mamakwa is looking for a second term. He has held, since joining Queen’s Park, the role of the party’s chief spokesman for indigenous affairs. He also made his colleagues aware of the difficulties remote communities face, especially in exercising their right to vote.

According to him, the turnout rate also remains very low, as it is difficult for some communities to access polling stations, as proved during the federal election.

Polling stations should be installed on all reservations. If in a city or a neighborhood a population in this country were not allowed to vote, it would create enormous tensions and it would be outrageous for the majority of peoplesays Simon Dabin.

There is always a double weight and two sizes. If an entire city in Canada hadn’t been able to vote, everyone would be shocked.

A quote from Simon Dabin, Doctor of Political Science, University of Montreal

Denouncing the paternalistic side of the government, Sol Mamakwa says he is aware that it is a system not built for indigenous peoples. But I think I have a voice and a perspective that my colleagues need to hear before making decisions that will affect our population, especially in the north of the province, where many development projects have places that directly affect the traditional way of life of certain communitieshe said.

The Aboriginal MP pays his respects at Queen's Park, where shoes have been laid in memory of the children of Aboriginal residential schools.

Sol Mamakwa has called on the governments of Ontario and Canada to investigate all sites of former residential schools for the graves of Indigenous children.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Natasha MacDonald-Dupuis

This year, Vanessa Lalonde of the Oneida First Nation of the Thames runs for the Liberals in London West. It’s important because you don’t see many indigenous people in provincial politics and in politics in general. I am ready to take this step and believe there are many calls to action regarding indigenous peoples that we can focus on.she says.

Representation is so important and I think it is so important that everyone is represented in our government, as well as different experiences.

A quote from Vanessa Lalonde, Liberal candidate for London West

Access to drinking water is also one of the battle horses. I have relatives who live in a reservation that has not had clean water for years. Parents should ensure that their children do not drink water when taking a bathshe says.

Vanessa Lalonde discusses in interview.

Vanessa Lalonde, London West candidate

Photo: Photo submitted by Vanessa Lalonde

In my view, Alain Bartleman, attorney and member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, the tone of discussions regarding Aboriginal people has changed dramatically in the past two years and the heartbreaking discovery of the remains of hundreds of children near residential schools for aborigines, and much more.

I think it’s really time for us, as indigenous peoples, to get involved in the political discussions. You must have a seat at the table.

A quote from Me Alain Bartleman
Alain Bartleman poses for a photo and looks straight into the camera.

Lawyer Alain Bartleman

Photo: Radio Canada

The lawyer says to encourage those around him to go to the polls on June 2. We must not forget that we are part of this political organization and that we must vote at all costs, otherwise the province will continue to ignore us.he decides.

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