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October 19, the date of the 2015 federal election, is swiftly approaching and polls suggest it will be one of the closest elections in Canadian history and the first where all three major parties are contenders to form the next federal government. In this context, the slogan “Every vote counts” packs even more punch than usual.
This is especially true for Métis. Historically, Métis vote in large numbers and with the election being so close, Métis have the potential to make a big difference in several ridings where we have significant population bases. The difference between who is in opposition and who is in government may very well ride on our Métis votes in just a few of those seats.
It is important therefore that we make sure politicians of all stripes know we are Métis and that how political parties treat Métis issues impacts how we vote. Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski took an early lead in this area by writing each of the party leaders in February to bring Métis issues to their attention.
On September 29, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau called President Lipinski to discuss issues of concern to MNO citizens. Following their discussion, Mr. Trudeau wrote to President Lipinski about the meeting. Click here to read the letter.
On October 8, President Lipinski appeared on the APTN news program InFocus where with other Métis Nation leaders he discussed Métis concerns and issues in the federal election. Click here to view the program.
The large number of representatives from each party that attended the 2015 Annual General Assembly (AGA) in Midland this August testifies to the growing awareness among political parties of the importance of the Métis vote.
At the AGA, President Lipinski encouraged MNO citizens to ask candidates questions about parties’ policies on Métis issues. He said: “Pay very close attention to what parties are saying, but even more importantly, to what they are not saying,"
Responses from the parties
The Métis National Council (MNC) distributed a questionnaire to each of the four political parties with seats in the last Parliament. The questionnaire concerned party positions on a variety of issues that impact Métis Nation citizens.
To date, the Liberal, NDP and Green parties have responded. Other responses will be added as they are received. Click here to read what the parties are saying.
The Liberal Party has developed a specific policy on Métis issues. Click here to read the policy.