It's not often that good news comes out of an election cycle. We're often bombarded with scandals and accusations and name-calling. But there is something to celebrate about this election. There's a record-breaking number of Indigenous candidates in the federal election.
According to The Assembly of First Nations, more Indigenous candidates are running in this election than in any previous election. National Chief Perry Bellegarde highlighted the importance of that statistic when it comes to more Indigenous participation in Canadian politics.
"Getting our people around decision making tables is key to bring about better policy and legislative change in Canada," said Bellegarde in an interview.
The national advocacy organization states that at least 62 First Nations, Metis and Inuit candidates are running in the election which is an increase from the 2015 election when there were 54 Indigenous candidates.
The last election broke records too when 10 Indigenous MPs were elected to the House of Commons. Eight were from the Liberal Party and two were from the NDP.
This is good news not just for First Nations, but all of Canada. https://t.co/xb2DRUappU— Perry Bellegarde (@Perry Bellegarde) 1570657475
Former Liberal, and former Attorney General at the centre of the SNC Lavalin Scandal, Jody Wilson-Raybould is running as Independent for the Vancouver-Granville riding in B.C. She is only one of the at least 62 candidates.
A few other Indigenous candidates include NDP Rudy Turtle running in Kenora, Green Lydia Hwitsum running in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, Conservative Leona Aglukkaq running in Nunavut and Liberal Dan Vandal running in Saint Boniface-Saint Vital.
The New Democrats attracted the highest number of Indigenous candidates at 27. Eighteen candidates are running for the Liberals and seven each for the Greens and Conservatives.
The number of Indigenous candidates running is based on self-reported numbers from the major parties so according to CTV, the numbers could be higher if Indigenous candidates are running as Independents.
While the People's Party of Canada doesn't record demographic information about its candidates, the assembly said that analysts found one Metis and one First Nations candidate.
"First Nations issues and priorities are important, our voice matters, our priorities matter. We're going to matter in this election because we vote now," said Bellegarde.
In the last federal election, voter turnout for registered voters living on reserves was 61.5 percent according to Elections Canada. The gap between general population turnout and on reserve turnout in 2015 was the lowest Elections Canada had ever seen since it began collecting the numbers in 2004.
Bellegarde said in an interview that he wants to see the voter turnout number go up.