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Election Roundup

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Advance polls look busy

OTTAWA -- With a day off from work, Good Friday was a good day to go vote for the many people who came out for the first day of advance polls in the federal election.

Official numbers on turnout won't be available until next week, but Elections Canada spokesman James Hale said anecdotal reports from across the country seemed to indicate the polls were busy. "I think the volume was anecdotally pretty heavy at noontime when the polls opened and that's great," he said.

During the last election, more than 1.5 million Canadians cast their vote at advanced polls and 253,069 used special ballots. The rest of the 13.8 million votes were cast on election day.

All advance polls are open again today and Monday.

 

Endorsement raises ire

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver South Liberal candidate Ujjal Dosanjh lodged a complaint with several government agencies on Friday over an endorsement of his Conservative rival by a man who was acquitted of charges in the Air India terror bombings.

On Friday, Dosanjh accused Conservative Wai Young of elections violations for meeting with Ripudaman Singh Malik before parents and teachers at a Khalsa School run by a charity that Malik helps govern.

Dosanjh's letter to Elections Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency and the B.C. Ministry of Education points out the school is sponsored by the Satnam Education Society of BC, which is listed as a registered charity.

"Canada Revenue Agency rules prohibit registered charities from engaging in activities which 'can reasonably be construed as intending to influence the outcome of the election.'"

The letter the former B.C. premier sent also notes the school receives funding from the B.C. government.

Dosanjh also said there was a larger question about Young's judgment, "hobnobbing with the likes of Mr. Malik, who has admitted links to the Air India bombers."

 

Aboriginals disengaged

SIKSIKA NATION, Alta. -- While all federal party platforms mention First Nations to varying degrees, there appears to have been little outreach to communities from the federal leaders and even less mention of aboriginal concerns on the national stage.

The reason, say First Nations residents and experts, is aboriginal people are less engaged in the race, stemming from a voting ban from 1898 until 1960, and culminating in a widespread feeling of disconnection with Ottawa and subsequently, Canada at large.

"I don't know why (politicians) don't try and engage us more. I think that's why there's a lack of participation of First Nations people," said Scotty Many Fingers, a council comptroller at Siksika.

"You're not going to mention us, we're not going to vote."

 

-- from the wire services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 23, 2011 A7

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