Vice-chief calls on aboriginal people to get involved in the federal election

OTTAWA— Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) Vice-Chief Ron Swain is urging aboriginal people to participate in the federal election in any way they can.

“Those who have time can volunteer on a campaign, those with a little money can donate and everyone should at least turn out to vote,” said the vice-chief. “This election campaign is far too important to the future of the country and the future prosperity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit for people to be uninvolved.”

Vice-Chief Swain suggested that one issue people should examine is which party best reflects the best partner for aboriginal people, saying “A commitment to the nation-to-nation relationship, respectful and meaningful dialogue about implementing treaties and section 35 rights and implementing recommendations from reports like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples are signs that political parties have been listening.” He added, “When they talk about the issues, do they show an understanding of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for example, or are they trying to steer aboriginal people away from exercising their lawful rights? Those are the questions we must ask ourselves. And then we have to ask ourselves whether we can afford to let others decide who the partner is going to be on the other side of the negotiating table or if we will take control of our own future.”

“With over 1.4 million aboriginal people in the country, the political power of an organized and unified voting block would not be over-looked” said Vice-Chief Swain, pointing to CAP’s Find Your Voice campaign as one of many going on in the country to help aboriginal people understand their rights and how to register to vote. “I’d direct everyone young or old to for resources on the election. With the recent changes to election laws, it’s essential that people are not denied the right exercise their vote,” he said.

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is the national representative organization advocating for the rights and interests of off-reserve non-Status and Status Indians, the Southern Inuit of Labrador and Métis Peoples.