Aboriginal issues are shaping up to play a bigger part in the 2015 federal election than in past campaigns, Macdonald-Laurier Institute Senior Fellow Ken Coates told the Hill Times.
Coates said it’s significant that Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, is publicly calling on Canadians to elect a party that is paying attention to Aboriginal issues.
He cautions against assuming that all indigenous Canadians will choose to vote the same way. But, he adds, a sustained effort to highlight issues of importance to Aboriginal Canadians could “tip the balance” in some of the ridings during the upcoming campaign.
He noted that many Aboriginal candidates are running in the election in both rural and urban ridings.
The Hill Times identifies the poverty gap, concerns about missing and murdered Aboriginal women and education programs as the indigenous issues likely to play a big role in the campaign.
Coates is an established thought leader on Aboriginal public policy in Canada.
He wrote several op-eds on the significance of the recently concluded Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is the author of a 2015 paper for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute making the case for resource revenue sharing with Aboriginal communities.