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Impact of indigenous voting in Manitoba

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/7/2015 (1612 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette shown as he is greeted by supporters on October 22, 2014, after finishing a surprising third in the race to become Winnipeg's mayor.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette shown as he is greeted by supporters on October 22, 2014, after finishing a surprising third in the race to become Winnipeg's mayor.

The Assembly of First Nations wants indigenous people to make an impact in the upcoming federal election. It thinks they can make a significant difference in at least 51 ridings across the country, including six in Manitoba, if they turn out on polling day.

The AFN identified the ridings based on the margin of victory in the previous election and if there were enough indigenous voters in the ridings to close that margin.

Here are some takeaways on indigenous voting from the AFN's list:


The Manitoba ridings, identified by AFN, include Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, which is currently held by the NDP's Niki Ashton and has Manitoba's highest proportion of indigenous voters. The others are Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa and Winnipeg's Elmwood-Transcona, Winnipeg Centre, Winnipeg North and Winnipeg South Centre.

Here's where the six ridings are. Zoom out to see the whole province:


The current number of known Manitoba candidates with aboriginal backgrounds — Dan Vandal, who is running in Saint Boniface-Saint Vital, Rebecca Chartrand in Churchill-Keewatinook Aski and Robert-Falcon Ouellette in Winnipeg Centre. All three are running for the Liberal party.

Ouellette, who is Cree, ran for mayor of Winnipeg last year and hopes indigenous voters will be more engaged in the upcoming federal election.

"I think if there are going to be aboriginal candidates, I think that they have to be of a very high quality," Ouellette said. "People who have... even come from a hard beginning and have been able to demonstrate that they can succeed."

Ouellette pointed to a greater diversity in aboriginal candidates — not just chiefs or activists but also people with business backgrounds, for example, as a way of having aboriginal candidates appeal more widely and turn out more voters. He pointed to the election of Brian Bowman, who is Métis, as mayor of Winnipeg as something that has spurred aboriginal voters.

"Brian didn't talk about being aboriginal that much in his campaign. But they are still very proud about that, and they are aware that there is a certain significance to that event," Ouellette said.


37.6 per cent:

The average voting turnout on indigenous reserves in Manitoba in the 2011 federal election. That's significantly below the provincewide voting turnout of 58.8 per cent.


109 votes:

That's the transposed vote margin of victory in Winnipeg North, where the Liberals' Kevin Lamoureux won in 2011. The transposed margin is calculated by Elections Canada using 2015's revised constituency boundaries.

Winnipeg North has 9,425 aboriginal people over the voting age of 18, according to the 2011 National Household Survey, which could significantly affect the outcome. Similarly, Elmwood-Transcona had a vote margin of 722 votes and Winnipeg South Centre had a margin of 2,128. Both are held by Conservative MPs and the AFN thinks indigenous voters, if they turn out, can change the ridings' party status.



That's the cost of a Manitoba Identification Card, which includes a photo and address. The Fair Elections Act has increased identification requirements for voters, a move many say will make it harder for poorer, indigenous voters to register and vote. Those who don't have a driver's licence or other ID with the photo and address requirements can apply for the provincial identification card.

"Twenty dollars is 20 dollars," Ouellette said, adding when he was running for the Liberal nomination, he had many people ask how they could support him. Ouellette said even the $10 fee to buy a Liberal membership was too much for many.



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