Federal Election 2019

The First Nations Leadership Council is committed to changing the course of First Nation-Crown relations in BC in a way that empowers First Nations and results in real, concrete change to our children, families, and communities. The FNLC has identified the upcoming federal election as a critical turning point in which First Nation voters have the potential to significantly shift not only the focus of the election but the outcome as well.

In order to assist you and your community’s participation in this year’s federal election, the FNLC has compiled the attached 2019 Election Package.

The FNLC’s 2019 Election Package is being provided to all 203 First Nations in BC. Included in the package are:

  • Questions posed to all federal parties;
  • Responses from the parties who replied;
  • Basic voting information from Elections Canada;
  • Copy of each party’s platform on Indigenous issues;
  • Copy of bios of Indigenous candidates in BC

Please note that the FNLC encourages not only the further distribution of this information to your community members but encourages each community to pose questions to your respective riding
candidates. Please feel free to use or adapt the attached letter if you wish to do your own correspondence on election issues of significance to your community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Andrea Glickman (andrea@ubcic.bc.ca), Colin Braker (cbraker@fns.bc.ca) or Maureen Buchan (maureen.buchan@bcafn.ca).

Sincerely,
FIRST NATIONS LEADERSHIP COUNCIL

ANALYSIS OF FEDERAL PARTY PLATFORMS

Below is an analysis of the platforms that the Conservative, Green, Liberal, and New Democratic Parties have released in the build-up to the 2019 Federal Election. This is a listing of commitments made in relation to Indigenous and First Nation issues. This document attempts to capture all specific priorities relating to First Nations, however we recognize that First Nations might be included in some broader policy commitments that were not included.

The Conservative Party of Canada

The Conservative Party announced their platform, following the release of Honouring Promises, on October 11th, 2019.

The Conservative Party platform contains two pages regarding Indigenous Issues.
They list 6 general commitments regarding Indigenous Issues; only two are costed and linked to budgetary allocations.

  • A review of the Indian Act and other policies to remove barriers to prosperity. (This does not reference UNDRIP and Andrew Scheer spoke directly to UNDRIP effectively saying that he could not support Bill C-262 during a leaders debate)
  • Providing gas tax directly to “qualified communities”; unclear what the qualification is (no additional funding allocated).
  • Increasing access to capital – this was a priority in the Honouring Promises document (no additional funding allocated).
  • Commitments to consultation and accommodation including a new Minister and funds to facilitate engagement between Indigenous groups and resource development companies – these are the only commitments that come with funds – $1m/yr for the Minister and $10m/yr for the engagements.
  • Continued work on boil water advisories (no additional funding allocated).
  • An action national action plan for MMIWG – this was a priority in the Honouring Promises document (no additional funding allocated).
    The Conservative platform has included indigenous issues within their section “More Help at Home” listing six commitments. The lens used by the Conservative Party appears to be driven by resource development and economic issues.

The Green Party of Canada

The Green Party made a commitment to fully implement the Honouring Promises document.
The Green Party has included a four page narrative on Indigenous issues within their platform with commitments.
Through the Green Party’s chapter on reconciliation, the party has aligned its plan to address the following SDG goals: #1- No Poverty, #3- Good Health and Well-being, #6- Clean Water and Sanitation, #10- Reduced Inequalities, and #12- Responsible Consumption and Production.
Some of the major commitments on Indigenous Peoples are below:

  • Repudiation of the doctrine of terra nullius, the doctrine of discovery and other doctrines of superiority.
  • The recognition of inherent sovereignty and title of Indigenous Peoples.
  • The implementation of all 46 articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) through legislation.
  • Support for the full implementation of treaties and other self-government agreements.
  • The implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
  • The implementation of the Inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls to Justice.
  • The dismantling of the Indian Act in full partnership with First Nations, with the establishment of processes for Indigenous Peoples to ‘opt out’ of the Indian Act.
  • The creation of an inclusive policy and governance body, the Council of Canadian Governments, which will include Indigenous nations and peoples as equal partners with other levels of government in the development of shared national goals.
  • Increased Indigenous participation in First Ministers’ meetings.
  • In partnership with Indigenous Peoples, work towards the creation of an Indigenous Lands and Treaties Tribunal Act to establish an independent body on specific claims.
  • Investments in infrastructure to ensure access to safe drinking water and high quality, safe and affordable housing.
  • Investments in health care services that incorporate traditional practices and build capacity.
  • Commit $100 million annually over the next four years to create Indigenous-led protected and conserved areas and fund stewardship of these lands and waters by Indigenous guardians.

In the costed version of their platform there is little fiscally allocated to Indigenous commitments. The lens used by the Green Party of Canada appears to be framed in support for self-determination, collaboration on furthering a nation-to-nation relationship, and utilization of Indigenous knowledge.

The Liberal Party of Canada

The Liberal Party released their platform following the release of the Honouring Promises document. Some of these platform commitments appear to reflect direct language drawn from Honouring Promises. On September 9, 2019, Liberal Party leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to continuing to “working hard in close partnership with the Assembly of First Nations on First Nations priorities…”

Some of the major commitments on Indigenous Peoples are below:

  • Eliminate all long-term drinking water advisories by 2021.
  • Co-develop distinctions-based Indigenous Health legislation.
  • Co-develop and invest in distinctions-based community infrastructure plans and move forward with addressing critical infrastructure needs – such as housing, all-weather roads, high-speed internet, health facilities, treatment centres, and schools – in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities by 2030.
  • Fully implement the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Children, Youth and Families.
  • Fully implement the Indigenous Languages Act.
  • Move forward with First Nations policing that serves First Nations communities well, co-develop a legislative framework for First Nations policing which recognizes First Nations policing as an essential service. Work with interested First Nations communities to expand the number of communities served by First Nations policing.
  • Work with Indigenous communities and move forward with investments that will see all Indigenous communities off diesel and instead powered by clean, renewable, and reliable sources of energy – such as hydro, wind, and solar – by 2030.
  • To ensure that Indigenous communities directly benefit from major resource projects in their territories, move forward with a new national benefits-sharing framework.
  • Target at least five percent of federal contracts awarded to businesses led by Indigenous Peoples.
  • Co-develop legislation to implement the UNDRIP within the first year of a new mandate with Bill C-262 seen as the floor.
  • Creation of a Treaty Commissioners Office.
  • Creation of a repatriation framework for cultural property and ancestral remains.
  • Continue work to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice, in partnership with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
  • Re-design federal policies on ATR and Specific Claims.
  • Continue to work with the AFN on the MOU.
  • Host a First Ministers Meeting on First Nations issues.
  • Work towards a transition away from the Indian Act.

In the costed version of their platform there is little fiscally allocated to Indigenous commitments. The lens used by the Liberal Party of Canada is framed in continued collaboration on furthering a nation-to-nation relationship, capacity building for self-determination, and closing the gap through co-developed legislation.

The New Democratic Party of Canada

The New Democratic Party released their platform document prior to the release of the Honouring Promises document and later committed to honouring AFN promises.

Some of the major commitments on Indigenous Peoples are below:

  • In partnership with Indigenous peoples, a New Democrat government will fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.
  • New Democrats will work with Indigenous peoples to co-develop a National Action Plan for Reconciliation.
  • Through legislation, we will establish a National Council for Reconciliation.
  • A New Democrat government will replace mere consultation with a standard of free, prior, and informed consent for Indigenous communities affected by government policies.
  • A New Democrat government will work in partnership with Indigenous communities across the country to help protect and revitalize the incredible diversity of Indigenous languages in Canada with new legislation and stable funding.
  • National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
  • Respecting, supporting, and resourcing Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare systems and backing this commitment with long-term, predictable funding guaranteed in legislation.
  • Fully implementing the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders regarding the chronic underfunding of welfare services on reserve.
  • Fully implement Jordan’s Principle.
  • We believe that the federal government must immediately step up to tackle the mould crisis affecting tens of thousands of homes, and provide support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples to ensure that their homes are safe and healthy. We will also ensure that Indigenous communities have the resources to make homes greener and more energy efficient, working to keep the benefits of good jobs, training, and investment close to home.
  • We will implement Shannen’s Dream of equitable access to education, backed by federal investments and infrastructure, so no student will be forced to learn in dangerous environments, as we have witnessed in Kashechewan First Nation.
  • Support for Indigenous youth and help them bridge the gap to post-secondary education through expanded financial assistance and increased educational opportunities for children who grew up in care, and distance education for rural and remote students.
  • We will work with the provinces to establish Indigenous history education programs for all Canadians, based on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action 62 and 63 – and ensure that the development and implementation of these programs are led by Indigenous peoples.
  • Ending water advisories by 2021 permanently.
  • Funding water management education, fire prevention education, and emergency preparedness education.
  • Ensuring safe and public transportation by resuming and expanding rural and remote bus services and passenger rail service.
  • New Democrats will help expand community-owned renewable energy projects and support efforts to transition remote communities away from polluting diesel and harmful fumes, towards reliable and clean energy alternatives.
  • New Democrats will make sure that the federal government steps up to close the health gap in Indigenous communities, and supports Indigenous health self-determination. We recognize that healing the ongoing trauma caused by colonialism and residential schools will require long-term partnership and reliable, ongoing funding.
  • Investments in Indigenous health care infrastructure and diagnostic equipment to provide services in their community.
  • Improve access to mental health and addiction treatment services, including an evidence-based action plan to prevent suicide, backed by dedicated federal resources.
  • Culturally appropriate Indigenous-led healthcare is available for Elders in their communities – including long-term care and home care.
  • Supporting Indigenous food sovereignty and reforming the Nutrition North program.
  • Build a mercury treatment centre for Grassy Narrows.
  • A new fiscal relationship means secure funding to support programs and services, and access to revenue streams to help close the socio-economic gap and support self-government.
  • Infrastructure investments and expanded access to broadband internet and cell service for rural and remote communities.
  • Creation of a Northern Infrastructure Fund (roads and broadband for the north).
  • Implementing the MMIW’s Calls for Justice.
  • Applying equal status rights to women so that they are able to pass on Indian status registration.
  • Self-determination over land, culture, language, housing, child care, income security, employment, education, and physical, mental, sexual, and spiritual health.
  • Healing and restorative justice to avoid incarceration and upholding the Gladue principles.
  • Provide necessary resources for Indigenous policing in coordination with Indigenous development of the programs.
  • Referencing the need for a “holistic definition of sustainability”.
  • The upholding of Indigenous knowledge and inherent sovereignty.
  • New Democrats will ensure that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis leadership have a seat at high-level decision-making tables to help direct climate change efforts in Canada.
  • Expanding Indigenous Guardians Program.

All NDP commitments are fully costed. The lens used by the NDP appears to be framed in support for self-determination, collaboration on furthering a nation-to-nation relationship, and utilization of Indigenous knowledge.