An Aboriginal Who’s Who of Canada’s 2011 Federal Election

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 (CPC):

Green Party of Canada (GPC)

Liberal Party of Canada (LPC):

New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP):


  • Kelvin Chicago-Boucher (Ojibway) – Kenora

First Peoples National Party of Canada (FPNPC)

Communist Party of Canada

Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada


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.

Rick Harp has a far more comprehensive review of all platforms, including NDP and BQ in this amazing post.


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 candidatesRomeo 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).

Ontario’s Kenora riding has two Ojibway candidates — Tania Cameron (NDP) and Kelvin Chicago-Boucher (IND) — vying to unseat Conservative MP Greg Rickford.

Vancouver Island North — home riding of the latest Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs John Duncan (mentioned in Rick’s post).


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.


[ Photo courtesy Parliament of Canada ]

22 thoughts on “An Aboriginal Who’s Who of Canada’s 2011 Federal Election

  1. Go Ginger! Many thanks for that stat. Here’s another quizzer: could the fact of five federal races with at least 2 Aboriginal candidates be a record?

  2. What a shame that nowhere do I read that that equity, fairness, justice or respect when it comes to First Nations children in the child welfare system is an election issue! When the Federal Government wants to keep Canadians regarding the discrimination it is practicing against First Nations children, and has the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal dismiss this case on a technicality and not on its merits, we are missing the boat!

  3. It is nice to track how many Aboriginal candidates we have, so that we can set a goal and continue to improve each election. I’m a firm believer of ‘seeing is believing.’ Once we set a solid standard of having many, many aboriginal candidates, Canadians will become accustomed to seeing Aboriginals in this setting and it will no longer be a novelty (so to speak). I always thought that the same held true for women candidates… the more women we see in these roles, the less radical it seems and the more likely we are to accept them as the ‘norm’ and listen to their views.

    I think what is equally important (but not mutually exclusive) is what the non-Aboriginal candidates are individually saying and doing to espouse Aboriginal issues and fight for Aboriginal rights.

    To be clear, I think we need to focus on both, but there are many strong candidates who aren’t Aboriginal and who take a tougher stand than their affiliated political party. Thoughts?

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for your comments. I thought about adding candidates or incumbents who were known for taking up Aboriginal causes, and I still might since there are still several days until the actual election.

    Charlie Angus, Linda Duncan, Anita Neville and several others make a point of bringing up Aboriginal issues in the House of Commons, often every week.

    Anyone with suggestions please add them to the comments section here or email tim [at]


  5. Sylvia, as seen in my comparative review of the federal platforms, the Conservatives have argued that “The Government has consistently shown its commitment to the Aboriginal people of Canada through… significant investments that seek to improve health outcomes for First Nations people and Inuit, as well as First Nations child and family services in concert with willing provinces and First Nations.”

  6. Western Arctic region will be running race with a STRONG issue on Devolution Agreement in Principle (AIP) for the NWT. Something that the DENE do not currently want because it is a terrible agreement.

  7. CTFN has it on record that INAC ‘would not be prepared to recommend a mandate’ with the objective of our First Nation having responsibility for our children presently ‘ in care’. We have a Comprehensive Claim (and a Comprensive Self Government Agreement) that gives us the Constitutionally protected right to develop our own legally recognized Family Law. We tried to work with Yukon government in their review process, but they did not have the ‘courtesy’ to read it let alone seriously consider our concerns, recommendations/solutions to what is not working effectively. ‘Premier’ Fentie told us if you don’t like our Child Act, you have the right to pass your own legislation’. Both are Conservative governments. Actions speak louder than political rhetoric.

  8. Thanks! Added Mr. Barr to the list. We now have a record number of Aboriginal candidates running in this election.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.