I believe Leonard Marchand was the first Aboriginal and first First Nation person elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1968. Since then, there have been others, but not nearly enough.
When I was in the 39th Parliament there were only a handful of Indigenous MPs. It would be tremendous to see more Indigenous candidates running for all political parties!
Winning and taking a seat in the Canadian Parliament and influencing the laws of the land is an honour. Simply seeking the nominations to represent a riding as an MP or an MLA is equally important, as it sends strong signals to the political and corporate elite of Canada to pay attention.
I sat in the House of Commons with other Members of Parliament who represented their ridings with vigour, but also represented the Chinese community or Jewish community or immigrants from India.
Many of these groups vote strategically to ensure that their views, concerns and issues are heard in Ottawa. They donate large sums of money to ensure their representatives are in the House of Commons advocating for them.
As Indigenous people, we must also do what we can to get involved and to donate. Some people can’t donate cash and this is understandable. There are many ways people can help as volunteers.
And remember, if every dollar donated counts. Again, I don’t care which party you support, but I encourage you to get involved.
Collectively, we can bring a lot of money, manpower, ideas and, most importantly votes. This gets noticed in the long run and establishes the importance of the Indigenous community and its issues overall.