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Electoral Insight – Aboriginal Participation in Elections

Electoral Insight – November 2003

Exploring the Issues of Aboriginal Representation in Federal Elections

Exploring the Issues of Aboriginal Representation in Federal Elections

Anna Hunter
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan

Aboriginal people can make a strong claim that the federal electoral system perpetuates their exclusion. The level of Aboriginal voter participation in federal electoral politics remains low,Footnote 1 and their ability to successfully translate political participation into the nomination and election of Aboriginal people to the House of Commons is even lower.Footnote 2 This lack of representation of Aboriginal people in formal political processes signifies such a high degree of political alienation that it threatens the legitimacy of the Canadian democratic electoral system. It also sustains a very tenuous relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

In the absence of formal mechanisms to facilitate the necessary exchange of ideas, Aboriginal people have been conditioned to use "very blunt instruments to make their point, such as highly charged political demonstrations, blockades, and litigation."Footnote 3 In the words of Alan Cairns, there is a brutal reality that if present trends of Aboriginal unemployment, social exclusion and anomic conditions continue unchecked, the results for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples will be catastrophic.Footnote 4 This article explores the issue of effective representation of Aboriginal people in federal electoral politics, and culminates in calling for an increase in the numerical representation of Aboriginal people in addition to advancing their substantive representation through inclusion of their distinct world views in political institutions.

The theory of representative democracy

In Canada, the representational inputs and outputs of elections have commonly been regarded as key determinants of democratic governance. The quality of Canada's representative democracy is measured against a number of indicators: (1) the authority and accountability of the electoral system to represent the views, needs and aspirations of voters; (2) the institutional ability to produce a legislature that closely mirrors, in its social characteristics such as gender, ethnicity and social class, the composition of the population represented; and (3) the responsiveness of government actors in translating voters' preferences into appropriate responses from government.Footnote 5 Together and separately, these indicators reflect the normative principle that the activity and composition of the legislature play a significant role in determining how well a government can represent the distinct political interests of its constituents. Ideally, each citizen is entitled to have a voice in the deliberations of government, as well as the right to bring grievances and concerns to the attention of his or her government representative.Footnote 6

The ability and willingness of Parliament to ensure the political representation of particular groups is an integral component of a democratic government. Political representation structures government activity; those with access to the decision-making structures of Parliament act as gatekeepers, deciding which interests will be addressed in the public sphere and how they will be prioritized, packaged and presented. Consider the representative function of parliamentary debates. Securing political representation is not only important in terms of potential numerical outcome, but also in terms of the character of the debate leading to the outcome.Footnote 7 As Roger Gibbins notes, when the House debates issues such as abortion or Aboriginal rights, the outcome of the debate would arguably be different if the membership of the House included greater representation from potentially affected groups.Footnote 8

There is a direct connection between the legitimacy of the Canadian democratic electoral process and its ability to foster political representation that reflects the social diversity of its constituents. In Sauvé v. Canada (Chief Electoral Officer),Footnote 9 the Supreme Court of Canada identifies the vital symbolic, theoretical and practical connection between having a voice in making the law and being obliged to obey it: "This connection, inherited from social contract theory and enshrined in the Charter, stands at the heart of our system of constitutional democracy."Footnote 10 Political institutions that reflect the diversity of their constituents instill a greater sense of inclusion and belonging, which in turn increases their perceived political legitimacy. In a democratic society, citizens cannot be expected to abide by laws indefinitely if they have consistently been excluded from democratic access due to structural and cultural restrictions. This is particularly important if marginalized groups have historically been excluded from electoral participation through the operation of the law.Footnote 11 The under-representation of Aboriginal people in federal electoral politics offers a compelling example of this democratic dilemma.

Aboriginal representation in federal electoral politics

Improving Aboriginal political representation has been widely endorsed as an important objective within the larger framework of securing social justice for Aboriginal people.Footnote 12 Increased representation in federal electoral politics will give Aboriginal people greater access to the decision-making processes that affect them, which will, in turn, enable Aboriginal people to direct those processes to meet their specific needs and aspirations. John Borrows explains:

"To preserve and extend our participation with the land, and our association with those who now live on it, it is time to talk of Aboriginal control of Canadian affairs. Various sites of power in Canada must be permeated with Aboriginal people, institutions, and ideologies ... Aboriginal people must work individually and as groups beyond their communities to enlarge and increase their influence over matters that are important to them."Footnote 13

Increasing Aboriginal representation offers the opportunity to include the Aboriginal community of interest in the political sphere. This would foster the direct participation and representation of Aboriginal people, which would tend to promote and protect their collective interests.

Furthermore, increasing Aboriginal representation draws on the potential to further the agenda of Aboriginal self-government and self-determination in a manner that sidesteps the perils of high constitutional drama.Footnote 14 Aboriginal self-government and self-determination will not work in isolation in Aboriginal communities. Support drawn from within federal institutions is a necessary and complementary component of advancing the agenda of self-government and self-determination.Footnote 15

Increasing Aboriginal representation also offers the potential to imbue existing governmental structures with Indigenous traditions, philosophies and ideologies, to the advantage of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. To engage sufficient Aboriginal participation in the federal electoral system that claims of effective Aboriginal political representation can be justified, it is imperative to integrate Aboriginal world views into the social, political and institutional fabric of Canadian electoral practices. These world views are inspired and protected by Indigenous knowledge and values, and the shared belief that each Indigenous regime is characteristic of the creative adaptation of a people to an ecological order,Footnote 16 along with the accompanying belief that the natural world is alive and spiritually replete.Footnote 17 The distinct Aboriginal world views can also be understood through a more functional and less esoteric approach. Consider Benjamin Barber's explanation that there are basically two democratic worlds in America: a remote world defined by complex national institutions and bureaucratic policies, and the other, more intimate, world defined by neighbourhood and block associations, PTAs and community action groups.Footnote 18 Aboriginal people function within these two worlds of democracy, but their participation is filtered through an inherently different perception of political processes and institutions. Of particular importance to the functional approach are the world views derived from the individual and collective experiences of colonial oppression and domination.

Whether you take the Indigenous knowledge approach or the functional approach, it should be understood that Indigenous people share separate and distinct world views that are embedded within the core of Aboriginal differentiated identity and citizenship. The result of these distinct world views is a profound sense of distance from the mainstream political system. To bridge this distance, positive attempts must be made to increase participation by developing substantive representation of Aboriginal world views in the electoral system. Due to the depth and degree of the barriers to Aboriginal participation, it will simply not be enough to expect Aboriginal peoples to fit themselves into the institutions of the colonial framework.

Aboriginal Candidates Elected in Canadian General Elections, 1867-2000
Year Name of candidate Electoral district Province/territory Political affiliation Origin Plurality
2000 Lawrence D. O'Brien Labrador Nfld. Liberal Métis 5,869
Rick Laliberte Churchill River Sask. Liberal Métis 2,177
Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut Nunavut Liberal Inuit 3,917
Ethel Dorothy Blondin-Andrew Western Arctic N.W.T. Liberal N.A.I.1 2,425
1997 Lawrence D. O'Brien2 Labrador Nfld. Liberal Métis 1,567
Rick Laliberte Churchill River Sask. N.D.P. Métis 538
Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut N.W.T. Liberal Inuit 1,565
Ethel Dorothy Blondin-Andrew Western Arctic N.W.T. Liberal N.A.I. 2,985
1993 Elijah Harper Churchill Man. Liberal N.A.I. 907
Jack Iyerak Anawak Nunatsiaq N.W.T. Liberal Inuit 4,715
Ethel Dorothy Blondin-Andrew Western Arctic N.W.T. Liberal N.A.I. 6,867
1988 Wilton Littlechild Wetaskiwin Alta. Progressive Conservative N.A.I. 12,672
Jack Iyerak Anawak Nunatsiaq N.W.T. Liberal Inuit 570
Ethel Dorothy Blondin-Andrew Western Arctic N.W.T. Liberal N.A.I. 1,758
1984 Cyril Keeper Winnipeg North Centre Man. N.D.P. Métis 4,089
Cerry St. Germain 3 Mission-Port Moody B.C. Progressive Conservative Métis 4,753
Thomas Suluk Nunatsiaq N.W.T. Progressive Conservative Inuit 247
1980 Cyril Keeper Winnipeg—St. James Man. N.D.P. Métis 438
Peter Ittinuar Nunatsiaq N.W.T. N.D.P. Inuit 311
1979 Peter Ittinuar Nunatsiaq N.W.T. N.D.P. Inuit 76
1974 Leonard Stephen Marchand Kamloops—Cariboo B.C. Liberal N.A.I. 3,146
Walter Firth Northwest Territories N.W.T. N.D.P. Métis 1,139
1972 Leonard Stephen Marchand Kamloops—Cariboo B.C. Liberal N.A.I. 714
Walter Firth Northwest Territories N.W.T. N.D.P. Métis 1,258
1968 Leonard Stephen Marchand Kamloops—Cariboo B.C. Liberal N.A.I. 3,296
1963 Eugène Rhéaume Northwest Territories N.W.T. Progressive Conservative Métis 1,155
1949 William Albert Boucher 4 Rosthem Sask. Liberal Métis 3,698
1930 Errick French Willis Souris Man. Progressive Conservative N.A.I. 472
1874 Louis Riel5 Provencher Man. Independent Métis 126


  • History of the Federal Electoral Ridings since 1867, Library of Parliament
  • Parliamentary Internet Web site at

1 North American Indian.

2 Lawrence D. O'Brien was previously elected in a by-election held in 1996 in the same electoral district.

3 Cerry St. Germain was previously elected in a by-election held in 1983 in the same electoral district.

4 William Albert Boucher was previously elected in a by-election held in 1948 in the same electoral district.

5 Louis Riel was also elected in by-elections in 1873 and 1874 in the same electoral district.

Barriers to Aboriginal participation in the federal electoral system

The belief that Aboriginal people will ever collectively and positively engage in the Canadian electoral process requires a huge leap of faith. First, it must be acknowledged that any changes will have to take place in a broad context of widespread voter apathy and decreasing public confidence in the legislative branch. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people both have reservations about the institutional and personal incentives for participating in the prescribed democratic process in its current form. The current system does not appear to reward independence of spirit, policy innovation or service to the constituency.Footnote 19 Party discipline and a powerful executive have led to the widespread perception that high-level politics should be left to the elites. As a result, Canadians in general are feeling disengaged from formal political processes, and there is a noticeably strong movement towards less formal channels of political action as more appropriate for effecting meaningful change.

Against this backdrop of widespread voter apathy and low public confidence, there is a strong and steadfast opposition that wholeheartedly rejects any form of Aboriginal electoral participation on the basis of fundamental philosophical considerations. The historic policies of assimilation imposed by the federal government have generated a deep-rooted distrust for federal initiatives. Aboriginal people did not play a role in designing the Canadian system of government, and they do not see themselves represented in its institutions. As a result, there is a widespread perception among them that Canadian political institutions lack legitimacy.

The Department of Indian Affairs has a longstanding history of using enfranchisement as a tool of assimilation,Footnote 20 and many First Nations people fear that the recent calls to participate in Canadian political processes are a modern manifestation of the assimilationist agenda. In addition, many Aboriginal people fear that Aboriginal participation in federal electoral processes will detract from the recognition of inherent Aboriginal and treaty rights, and legitimize the colonial order of unequal power relations. Finally, a sizable group of Aboriginal people believe that their distinct legal and political rights can only be realized through the defence of traditional values predicated on principles of Indigenous nationhood and sovereignty; accepting anything less would be falling prey to co-optation tactics. Each of these anti-colonial Indigenous perspectives represents a politically significant opposition to Aboriginal electoral participation.

In addition to these concerns, Aboriginal people face structural impediments to political mobilization. Examples of structural challenges include geographical dispersal, and administrative and communication barriers.Footnote 21 Aboriginal people need access to information that incorporates a variety of different functions and formats, so that the material reaches its intended audience in a manner that is not incomprehensibly legalistic, and can be translated into Indigenous languages when necessary.

The barriers to Aboriginal participation in the federal electoral system are deeply ingrained in the political system. Consider the list of four major factors contributing to Aboriginal under-representation offered by the Committee for Aboriginal Electoral Reform (1991):

  1. The historical use of the federal franchise as a means of assimilation;
  2. The failure of the federal electoral system to recognize the Aboriginal community of interest;
  3. Impediments to Aboriginal participation in political parties; and
  4. The failure of federal electoral administration to meet the needs of Aboriginal electors and to practise employment equity.Footnote 22

Only a few Aboriginal people have been elected to the Canadian House of Commons. The first was Métis leader Louis Riel (left), who was elected three times in the 1870s, but never actually took his seat. He led the North-West Rebellion in 1885, was tried for treason and hanged in Regina later the same year. In 1968, Leonard Marchand (centre) was the first Status Indian elected. He later served in the Trudeau Cabinet and was appointed to the Senate in 1984. Elijah Harper (right) was elected federally in 1993, following more than 10 years in the Manitoba legislature, where he served as Minister for Native Affairs and Minister of Northern Affairs. Harper is best known for his 1990 role in blocking ratification of the Meech Lake Accord in the Manitoba legislative assembly.

More than 10 years later, each of these factors remains firmly entrenched, perpetuating the legacy of Aboriginal under-representation in federal electoral politics.

One of the key reasons for this continuing legacy is the lack of political incentive to make the necessary changes. The federal government, focused on fiscal restraint and reforming the administrative processes of Indian Act communities,Footnote 23 has not given priority to addressing Aboriginal electoral participation in federal political institutions. Because Aboriginal people do not generally have the concentrated populations necessary to collectively affect voting outcomes, there is no direct incentive to place Aboriginal issues on the political agenda. This situation is unlikely to change, given the built-in limitations of a political process driven by brokerage party politics. In a system where maximizing electoral success and forming the government is the primary goal, political parties tend to seek broad consensus by downplaying potentially divisive ideologies and principles.Footnote 24 As a result, it is unlikely that the current system will accommodate Aboriginal electoral interests.

This situation is neither hopelessly predetermined nor intractable, by any means. Attention has to be paid to incentives coming from other areas, specifically the role that the courts can play in dictating necessary changes. It is clear that demands for political representation are being judicially measured against an increasingly broad understanding of democratic justice that draws upon the Canadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsFootnote 25 and related jurisprudence. According to the Supreme Court of Canada, "the Charter charges courts with upholding and maintaining an inclusive, participatory democratic framework within which citizens can explore and pursue different conceptions of the good."Footnote 26 Accordingly, questions regarding fairness and equity in the electoral process for Aboriginal peoples could be pursued under the Charter.

The 1991 Supreme Court of Canada ruling Reference re Prov. Electoral Boundaries (Sask.)Footnote 27 is of particular importance in this regard. In this case, Justice McLachlin's majority judgment upheld a broad interpretation of the purpose of the right to vote granted in section 3 of the Charter. The Court concluded that "the purpose of the right to vote enshrined in s. 3 of the Charter is not equality of voting power per se, but the right to effective representation."Footnote 28 The Court presented the following conditions of effective representation:

"The first is relative parity of voting power. A system which dilutes one citizen's vote unduly as compared to another citizen's vote runs the risk of providing inadequate representation to the citizen whose vote is diluted ... But parity of voting power, though of prime importance, is not the only factor to be taken into account in ensuring effective representation .... Factors like geography, community interests and minority representation may need to be taken into account to ensure that our legislative assemblies effectively represent the diversity of our social mosaic."Footnote 29

Thus, the debate has shifted beyond demands based solely on numerical proportionality to demands for electoral practices that effectively represent the diversity of our social mosaic. This expanded theory of effective representation offers a great deal of potential to Aboriginal people and other groups that feel marginalized in terms of representation in Parliament because it adds strength to their demands for tangible results.

One of the biggest opportunities captured by the idea of "instrumentalizing the capacity for effective representation" Footnote 30 is its ability to shift the focus from negative consideration of why Aboriginal people do not vote to the development of positive reasons for Aboriginal people to vote. The task is to develop and implement electoral reforms to bring about effective representation for Aboriginal people that meets two criteria. First, there must be an increase in the numerical proportionality of Aboriginal people within the legislature. Second, there must be an increase in their substantive representation through the integration of Aboriginal world views into the social, political and institutional fabric of Canadian electoral practice. There must be a conscious effort to break free from the colonial mindset through the implementation of renewed and re-imagined democratic processes.Footnote 31

The first step to realizing this goal is the recognition that Aboriginal peoples have a fundamentally different approach to politics and political life. Two differences that have particular relevance emerge from the 1993 work of Ovide Mercredi and Mary Ellen Turpel.Footnote 32 First, Aboriginal people generally approach politics informed by their traditional values, ceremonies, and the teachings of elders and other respected leaders. Second, Aboriginal people use a different set of benchmarks to measure policy success: the will to sustain Aboriginal languages, cultures and traditions is a driving force in Aboriginal political lifeFootnote 33 and does not hold comparable importance in mainstream political life.

The next step towards increasing Aboriginal participation and representation requires the institutional accommodation of distinct Aboriginal political identities and interests. Aboriginal people will need to see representation and inclusion of their leaders and their ceremonies, symbols and practices in the political processes and institutions of the Canadian State.Footnote 34 The range of opportunities to meet this challenge is as diverse as the many Aboriginal peoples across the country. In some cases, the representation will involve tribal-specific customs and practices, and in others, it will involve more pan-Indigenous understandings. An example of a potential tribal-specific custom could be the incorporation of a traditional tribal honour song or ceremony and its accompanying protocol to recognize newly elected representatives. For the latter practice, consider the common Indigenous understanding that leaders need to "have face" in the community in order to gain the respect and support of their constituents.Footnote 35 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal leaders cannot just be seen at election times, they must make the effort to participate in everyday community life and to develop relations based on reciprocity and trust. By doing so, the leaders will be able to truly understand the interests of the community, which will maximize their representational capacity.

At any rate, it is imperative to recognize that Aboriginal people require incentives to change their political behaviour in the same manner that other political actors do. Aboriginal people will need to see tangible results in exchange for their political participation in federal electoral politics. Symbolic or token seats in Parliament that can offer only minority or supplementary status will not be sufficient. The benchmark of effective representation is being judicially measured against an increasingly broad standard of equity and fairness, and there can be no doubt that Aboriginal people will draw upon these standards to realize their political needs and aspirations.


The Canadian electoral landscape is marked by a profound sense of distance between the Aboriginal political community and the Canadian political system. This article has demonstrated that overcoming the systemic and structural barriers that prevent Aboriginal people from voting will not be easy, but that it can be accomplished through a commitment to the emerging judicial theory of effective representation. To justify claims of effective Aboriginal political representation, it is imperative that Aboriginal participation be more than numerical representation; it must be substantive in terms of integrating the distinct world views of Aboriginal people into the social, political and institutional fabric of Canadian electoral practice. This, in turn, will assist the development of an array of positive reasons for Aboriginal people to vote. This is the necessary benchmark to meet in order to ensure an inclusive, participatory democratic framework.


Footnote 1 For an informative analysis on the difficulty of measuring the voting participation of Aboriginal people in federal elections see Roger Gibbins, "Electoral Reform and Canada's Aboriginal Population: An Assessment of Aboriginal Electoral Districts" in Robert A. Milen, ed., Aboriginal Peoples and Electoral Reform in Canada, Vol. 9 of The Collected Research Studies, Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1991), pp. 158160.

Footnote 2 Since Confederation, only 17 self-identified Aboriginal people have been elected to the House of Commons. Currently, there are only four Aboriginal members of Parliament out of 301.

Footnote 3 John Borrows, "The Environment, First Nations, and Democracy" in Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), p. 43.

Footnote 4 Alan C. Cairns, Citizens Plus (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2000), p. 208.

Footnote 5 See: Lisa Young, Electoral Systems and Representative Legislatures: Consideration of Alternative Electoral Systems, Report to the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, July 1994, p. 1; Sally Weaver, "Political Representivity and Indigenous Minorities in Canada and Australia" in Noel Dyck, ed., Indigenous Peoples and the Nation-State (St. John's, Newfoundland: Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University, 1985), pp. 113150.

Footnote 6 Reference re Prov. Electoral Boundaries (Sask.), [1991] 2 S.C.R. 158, p. 183.

Footnote 7 Gibbins, "Electoral Reform ...", p. 157.

Footnote 8 Gibbins, p. 157.

Footnote 9 Sauvé v. Canada (Chief Electoral Officer) [2002] S.C.C. 68.

Footnote 10 Sauvé v. Canada at para. 31.

Footnote 11 Cora Voyageur and Joyce Green, "How Do You Spell Political Success? Candidate Characteristics in the 1999 'Harvest Election'" in Prairie Forum Vol. 22, No. 2 (Fall 2001), pp. 187202.

Footnote 12 See: Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing, Reforming Electoral Democracy: Final Report (Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1991); The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1996); and the Report of the Committee for Aboriginal Electoral Reform (Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada, 1991).

Footnote 13 Borrows, "An Indigenous Declaration of Independence" in Recovering Canada, p. 140.

Footnote 14 David Smith, "Saskatchewan Perspectives" (Chapter Two) in Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Saskatchewan and Aboriginal Peoples in the 21st Century: Social, Economic and Political Changes and Challenges (Regina: Printwest Publishing Services, 1997).

Footnote 15 See: Robert Milen, "Aboriginal Constitutional and Electoral Reform" in Milen, ed., Aboriginal Peoples and Electoral Reform in Canada, pp. 365.

Footnote 16 Marie Battiste and James (Sa'ke'j) Youngblood Henderson, Protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Heritage (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Purich Publishing Ltd., 2000).

Footnote 17 Laurie Anne Whitt, Mere Roberts, Waerete Norman, Vicki Grieves, "Belonging to Land: Indigenous Knowledge Systems and the Natural World" in Oklahoma City University Law Review Vol. 26, No. 2 (Summer 2001), p. 701.

Footnote 18 Benjamin Barber, Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1984), p. xi.

Footnote 19 Keith Archer, Roger Gibbins, Rainer Knopff, Heather McIvor and Leslie A. Pal, Parameters of Power (3rd ed.) (Toronto: ITP Nelson, 2002), p. 185.

Footnote 20 Ian A. L. Getty and Antoine S. Lussier, As long as the sun shines and water flows: a reader in Canadian native studies (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1983), p. 50.

Footnote 21 For a thorough and informative discussion of the key issues of Aboriginal people, communications and elections, see Valerie Alia, "Aboriginal Peoples and Campaign Coverage in the North" in Milen, ed., Aboriginal Peoples and Electoral Reform in Canada, pp. 105152.

Footnote 22 Committee for Aboriginal Electoral Reform, The Path to Electoral Equality (Ottawa: The Committee for Aboriginal Electoral Reform, 1991), p. 8.

Footnote 23 See Bill C-7, the proposed First Nations Governance Act, which was not enacted before prorogation of the most recent session of Parliament on November 12, 2003, at

Footnote 24 Archer et al., Parameters of Power, p. 372.

Footnote 25 Section 3 of the Charter states: "Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein."

Footnote 26 Sauvé v. Canada at para. 15.

Footnote 27 Reference re Prov. Electoral Boundaries (Sask.), [1991] 2 S.C.R. p. 158.

Footnote 28 Reference re Prov. Electoral Boundaries (Sask.), p. 183.

Footnote 29 Reference re Prov. Electoral Boundaries (Sask.), p. 184.

Footnote 30 Tim Schouls, "Aboriginal People and Electoral Reform in Canada," Canadian Journal of Political Science Vol. 24, No. 4 (1996), p. 735.

Footnote 31 Joyce Green, Self-Determination, Citizenship, and Federalism: Indigenous and Canadian Palimpsest (Regina: Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy, March 2003), pp. 45.

Footnote 32 Ovide Mercredi and Mary Ellen Turpel, In the Rapids (Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Ltd., 1993), p. 37.

Footnote 33 Mercredi and Turpel, In the Rapids, p. 38.

Footnote 34 Green, Self-Determination, Citizenship, and Federalism, pp. 45.

Footnote 35 This is an understanding inspired by the teachings of the Ktunaxa Nation.


The opinions expressed are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect those of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada.