How many Indigenous People running in BC Election?

 Day 2 of the BC Election.

I was wondering if there were any First Nations people running in the provincial election. I knew that Adam Olsen was running for the Green Party in Saanich North and the Islands, but was unsure if anyone else was. Turns out there are 3 indigenous people running that I was able to find. I did a quick review of candidates for the NDP, Liberals, Greens and Conservatives.

Adam Olsen’s official website can be found at www.olsen4mla.ca. He is from the Tsartlip First Nation and has been involved in local government politics. He has worked in First Nations housing, indigenous games in Colorado and
helps in the family business Salish Fusion Knitwear. His education and strength is in communications. He has been involved in the Green Party since 2006 and worked on Elizabeth’s May successful campaign. Adam’s commitment is to the environment, economy and the people. Adam has no particular stated commitment on First Nations issues in his platform but plans to make the best decisions for the riding that does include many First Nations.

Carole James of the NDP party is Metis. She is in the Victoria, Beacon Hill riding. Her website carolejames.bcndp.ca/home does not mention her Metis heritage or any particular commitment to Metis or First Nations people in BC. Her riding of course is within the territories of the Coast Salish. Her commitment is to grow a sustainable economy and create jobs invest in the land base and make education and skills training a priority while improving health care.

I did not find any First Nations candidates running for the Liberals though I always stand to be corrected. And would add more candidates if so informed.

Surprisingly I found an aboriginal person running for the Conservatives. Surprising because John Cummins has never been a friend to First Nations, does not recognize our rights and is very negative about most things First Nations. Nathan Giede is running for the Conservatives in the Prince George-Valemount riding. The conservative party website says Nathan has been in Prince George since 1998 and says he is aboriginal. Whether that is First Nations or Metis I am not sure, and my research on the net did not give me an answer to that question. Not much information to go on and advocates to support families by eliminating the carbon tax and fixing aging infrastructure in the north. Again, no emphasis on “aboriginal” issues in the north. www.bcconservative.ca/team/nathan-giede-prince-george-valemount/

Party politics in BC are such that when you run for a particular party, you embrace their platform and advocate from that platform. That may be one of the reasons why there are only 3 indigenous candidates running in this election, the indigenous peoples may not like all of the platforms on one of the parties.

From a First Nation’s perspective, many First Nations people believe that they are citizen of their own Nations and are not part of the provincial or federal governments and won’t engage in elections. This is both running in the election and voting. They run and vote in their own elections only. There are many varied views on this.

Another reason why more indigenous peoples may not run for provincial office is that you have to work on behalf of everyone’s issues. If your passion and commitment is to changing the political, economic, cultural and environmental landscape for indigenous peoples, you cannot focus all your energies on indigneous issues. You need to spend much time on the full agenda of the party. While some issues like the environment may be an important issue for everyone, there are so many other issues to work on. An indigenous person could be frustrated spending time on so many issues that have no relevance to indigenous peoples. Your mind set has to be as set out in the platforms of Adam Olsen or Carole James and just use opportunities when you can to make a difference for indigenous people.

There are many tough issues affecting First Nations peoples today in this province as I explored yesterday in my blog. If the party you may be inclined to support does not share your views on these important issues, you would not be inclined to run for office for that party. You may hope that you can get involved and work from the inside to change views within the party, and that is debateable as to how successful you could be. It all depends on the person on whether they can operate within party politics and the formation of mandates and policies of the party.

I do not know how many of the parties actively recruited indigenous peoples to run. And if they actively recruited was there just no interest? I know I was not asked, nor were any of my friends and acquaintances asked, not that is a good weather vane to determine this. Does this mean the parties are not interested in having indigenous peoples running for them, or that they didn’t have enough time to recruit, or that it is not even on their radar as something that is important? I do not know but I may ask this question of the parties through this election.

3 indigenous candidates out of 303 which equals .0099% of the candidates running.
81 women and 218 men are running, or 27%, a better showing of women for sure.

Does the small number of indigenous candidates in the election show the level of interest in indigenous communities? Does the small number of indigenous candidates in the election show the level of interest of the political parties in having indigenous candidates? Does the small number of indigenous candidates show the great divide between First Nations and the BC government? I think it is probably a little of all of this. For those candidates who are running, I am sure they feel they can make a difference in their own way and have their own reasons for running.

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