THUNDER BAY – ANISHINAABE – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Ogichidaa Warren White, Grand Chief, Grand Council Treaty #3 (GCT#3), in consultation with First Nation leadership, issued the following statement on their joint efforts to mobilize the First Nations vote to bring about change in the Kenora Electoral District in the upcoming federal election:
“Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Grand Council Treaty #3 agree that a new relationship is needed between First Nations and the Government of Canada. Our leaders are frustrated with the lack of action by this Conservative government and the incumbent Member of Parliament for the Kenora district and we support their call for change. It is unacceptable that federal departments with obligations to First Nations are telling our leaders there is insufficient funding for vital services like clean drinking water, health care, education and infrastructure, when there is a moratorium on spending and a billion-dollar surplus. The Federal Government continues to fail to deliver the necessary investments to improve the quality of life in our impoverished communities where our children are being raised in third-world conditions while the rest of Canada prospers. We are mobilizing a combined effort to inform our members, both on- and off-reserve, about the election process, the issues affecting our First Nations, and the positions of the candidates and the parties they represent in the Kenora district and ridings across our territory. The voices of our people, especially our youth, must be heard during this election and we expect that the party best positioned to deliver change will be rewarded with their votes. We are doing everything possible to ensure that our members are aware of issues and have access to the electoral process so they can cast their ballots for change on October 19.”
“Many NAN and GCT#3 First Nation leaders are frustrated with incumbent Conservative MP Greg Rickford who, during his terms as MP and cabinet minister, has failed to represent the interests of First Nations in his riding. Fifteen First Nations are currently on boil water advisories in the Kenora riding, which has the largest number of First Nation communities in Canada. Additionally, Rickford is the only candidate from the Kenora district who does not support a national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.”
In the last federal election, voter turnout in NAN territory was very low, there were likely enough voters in the north to have defeated Minister Greg Rickford.
NAN says, “With 40 First Nation communities and more than 15,000 voters in the Kenora district alone, the First Nation vote has the potential to influence the outcome of this and other ridings across Canada. NAN and GCT#3 Chiefs are committed to ensuring that First Nation members exercise their right to participate in this election through the First Nations “Rock the Vote” campaign in the Kenora riding.”
NAN and GCT#3 will look to the next government to renew Canada’s Treaty relationship with First Nations, respect Aboriginal and Treaty rights, implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and support communities through mutually beneficial agreements that ensure the wealth from the extraction of natural resources benefits First Nations as full Treaty partners.