By Tim Fontaine
Media Indigena

It’s federal election time in Canada and across the country campaigns are in full swing. Whether you choose to vote or not, here’s a quick look at Aboriginal involvement in the 41st federal election, and information about some interesting ridings to watch.

Keep in mind that, as per Elections Canada rules, the deadline for nominations is April 11 with the full list of confirmed candidates to be unveiled April 13. Election day is May 2.


Conservative Party of Canada:

  • Leona Aglukkaq (Inuit) – Nunavut
  • Rod Bruinooge (Metis) – Winnipeg South
  • Rob Clarke (Cree) – Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River
  • Shelly Glover (Metis) – Saint Boniface
  • Peter Penashue (Innu) – Labrador

Green Party of Canada:

  • George Barrett (Metis) – Labrador
  • Johnny Kasudluak (Inuit) – Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou
  • Eliza Knockwood (Mi’kmaq) – Charlottetown
  • George Morin (Cree) – Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River
  • Lorraine Rekmans (Algonquin) – Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing
  • Jacqueline Romanow (Metis) – Winnipeg Centre
  • Alberteen Spence (Innu) – Churchill

Liberal Party of Canada:

  • Sydney Garrioch (Cree) – Churchill
  • Joe Handley (Metis) – Western Arctic
  • Gabe LaFond (Metis) – Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River
  • Paul Okalik (Inuit) – Nunavut
  • Todd Russell (Metis) – Labrador
  • Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux (Ojibway) – York Simcoe
  • Karen Young (Dene) – Fort McMurray-Athabasca

New Democratic Party:

  • Tania Cameron (Ojibway) – Kenora
  • Lewis Cardinal (Cree) – Edmonton Centre
  • Jeff Horvath (Ojibway) – Wild Rose
  • Lawrence Joseph (Cree) – Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River
  • Edith Loring-Kuhanga (Gitxsan) – Saanich-Gulf Islands
  • Romeo Saganash (Cree) – Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou
  • Jennifer Villebrun (Metis) – Peace River


Some highlights from the Liberal platform (by far the most comprehensive). If elected, the Party says they will:

  • Lift the much maligned 2% cap on FN post-secondary education funding (which they imposed in 1996)
  • Invest (by their second year) an additional $300 million in First Nation K-12 education
  • Re-fund the embattled First Nations University of Canada (FNUC)
  • $5 million/year for a Canada Metis Scholarship
  • Create a national task force examining missing and murdered Aboriginal women

Read the full platform.

Aboriginal people are mentioned twice in the Green platform. If elected, the Party says they will:

  • Increase funding to $800 million/year for First Nations education, safe drinking water and improved housing
  • Ensure Canada moves forward in implementing the spirit of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Read the full platform.

The Conservative platform was unveiled on April 8. While there was no dollar figure attached, for Aboriginal people they say they will:

  • Provide new investments in First Nations Land Management, allowing First Nations to promote the development of their reserve lands and resources
  • Expand adult basic education programming in the territories (the North), which they say will help increase education and employment levels
  • Support environmental safety upgrades to fuel tanks that power essential community infrastructure in remote and rural First Nations communities (this was seen in the Federal Budget released in March)
  • Promote ‘the deployment of clean energy technologies in Aboriginal and Northern communities’
  • In the upcoming (2012) commemorations of the War of 1812, the CPC says they’ll honour the contributions of First Nations to the victory
  • End the controversial long-gun registry and establish a ‘Hunting Advisory Panel to the Minister of the Environment’
  • Re-introduce a bill requiring First Nation Chiefs to publish their salaries

Read the full platform.

Now we’re just waiting (patiently) for the NDP platform…


  • Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River is the only riding with all Aboriginal candidates; George Morin (GPC), Lawrence Joseph (NDP), Gabe LaFond (LPC) and the incumbent Rob Clarke (CPC).
  • Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou has two Aboriginal candidates; Romeo Saganash (NDP) and Johnny Kasudluak (GPC)
  • Labrador has three Aboriginal candidates; Peter Penashue (CPC), George Barrett (GPC) and the incumbent Todd Russell (LPC).
  • In the Churchill riding, two Aboriginal candidates – Sydney Garrioch (LPC), Alberteen Spence (GPC) – are attempting to unseat NDP’s Niki Ashton (non-Aboriginal).
  • Nunavut has two Inuit candidates; incumbent Leona Aglukkaq (CPC) and former premier (the first) Paul Okalik (LPC).
  • Vancouver Island North – Home riding of the latest Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs John Duncan.

So there you have it. If you know of other candidates, or think there are ridings/races/platforms we should know about please use the comments section below. We’ll be updating this post as the election goes on.