As the next federal election looms in 2015, local Liberals are preparing to put their best candidate forward to take back the riding of Nipissing-Timiskaming. First Nations in the area are working to play a pivotal role in the riding to ensure their priorities are reflected in the upcoming election campaign and in shaping the next government.
First Nation Liberal organizer, Bob Goulais, who has played an advisory role within the Nipissing-Timiscaming Liberal Riding Association, has announced that he has endorsed previous Member of Parliament and past Liberal National Caucus Chair Anthony Rota in his bid for the Liberal nomination.
“We desperately need experienced and effective representation in Ottawa. Eight years of Stephen Harper’s bullying and a single term of Jay Aspen’s muted and ineffective representation is enough,” said Goulais, a member of Nipissing First Nation. “Anthony is the best candidate to win back the trust and hearts of the people in this riding.”
Goulais has pledged to deliver the support of his home community of Nipissing First Nation and many other First Nations voters. Goulais and a strong team of Anishinaabe supporters and volunteers has consistantly delivered overwhelmingly one-sided polls to Mr. Rota in previous elections in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011.
“We are starting to see more and more First Nations people taking an interest in mainstream politics and wanting to make a difference. For our community, that means supporting Anthony and voting Liberal. That trend will continue with a lot of hard work and determination of our team,” said a confident Goulais.
Bob has been a longtime advocate of increasing First Nations participation in the electoral process.
“It is essential that our people step up and lead the change we want to see in Canada. We can do that by voting, communicating our perspectives and priorities and playing a role within the system,” said Goulais who led the development of the ‘First Peoples Vote’ campaign.
“Personally, I want to see more First Nations MPs, candidates, riding association executives, political staffers and volunteers from all indigenous walks of life.”
Goulais has shared his priorities with Mr. Rota including immediate action on the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, working with First Nations to improving education and health determinants and strengthening critical environmental policies weakened under the Conservative government.
“Harper’s approach to working with First Nations is so paternalistic that our people are frustrated and have become disillusioned with Ottawa. The ‘Non-sense Revolution’ needs to come to an end,” concludes Goulais.
Goulais was an advisor during the Kelowna Accord, negotiated between First Nations, the Provinces and former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin. The Accord, it’s objectives, funding and the tremendous goodwill associated with it were scrapped when the Conservatives came to power in 2006. Goulais has also participated in the Liberal Aboriginal Peoples Commission (APC).