Vote smart, vote strategically, suggests grand council chief

‘ANISHINABEK NATION—Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee is encouraging Anishinabek Nation citizens to vote in the upcoming June 7 provincial election—and to vote strategically.

“Pay attention to your riding and vote strategically,” says Grand Council Chief Madahbee in a pres release. “We cannot go backwards and elect a premier who is not going to consult with First Nations, honour existing agreements and advance First Nation priorities. It just harkens to the Mike Harris era and current Trump-style politics.”

Grand Council Chief Madahbee says he would rather not participate in Ontario’s elections, but is concerned that “not taking advantage of a right won by our warriors who fought under Canadian flags could condemn our communities to more legislative assaults against our treaty and inherent rights.”

It is important for Anishinabek leaders to help their citizens know the positions taken by local candidates and their parties on issues important to First Nations such as the environment, health care, child well-being, government-to-government relationship, education and resource revenue sharing, the press release continues.

“First Nations people are starting to turn up to the polling stations and it’s making a difference,” says Chief Madahbee.  “We have the same issues that other people in Ontario have in this election, as well as jurisdictional issues that need to be respected.”

Grand Council Chief Madahbee also says that the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, specifically Article 19, that speaks to the issue of meaningful consultation: “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them”.

“I encourage all Anishinabek leaders to do what they can to help citizens to get familiar with party platforms so that if they choose to vote, they will cast informed ballots June 7,” says Chief Madahbee.