Why I’m Voting. Plus, Two #Elxn42 Ads and One Doc you must see before Oct 19th

As the longest election campaign in a century nears it’s end, many FNMI (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit) peoples are still on the fence about voting. To vote or not to vote? And if you are voting, who to vote for? I understand why many Indigenous voters have historically made the decision not to engage with the settler-state by casting a ballot. Voting can seem like a meaningless action with no impact on the daily realities of Indigenous peoples. I get it. I understand and I sympathize. That being said, I’m of the mind that this particular election is critical. No, I’m not so naive as to believe that everything will miraculously get better if Harper and the Conservatives no longer hold the power and I know other FNMI voters feel the same. There’s no such thing as a post-colonial world but there is such thing as a post-Harper world.

I am an urban First Nations woman. I own property, I pay property taxes. I work off-reserve and pay income taxes. I use the roads and parks and all those other things that our tax dollars go toward. I want to have children someday and they’ll likely go to public school off-reserve. All of these things are affected by government and who’s in office. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather deal with a government whose platform is aligned with my beliefs than a government that is modelling itself on a borderline fascist state.

The Conservatives actually do stand a chance at winning this election. If that were to happen, things would get a whole lot worse for a whole lot of people – not just for FNMI peoples. I don’t think any of us need a reminder of just how terrible Harper’s policies have been for FNMI peoples but we ought to also reflect on how Harper’s policies have affected others. As someone who has countless non-Indigenous friends and loved ones who have stood in solidarity with us and our struggles, I feel I also have a responsibility to those people come October 19th. That includes refugees, people with disabilities, single mothers and young families, the elderly, war vets, teachers, academics and scholars, postal carriers, scientists, archivists and librarians, people working for non-profit organizations, people working in the film industry, people struggling with addictions, the homeless, immigrants and those hoping to immigrate, and the list goes on. Things could get a whole lot shittier for all those people as well.

Knowing all the implications of engaging with the settler-state as a Blackfoot woman, a Treaty Indian, a Status Indian, an Indigenous woman trying to figure out what the heck Indigenous sovereignty even means for me, I’m still going to the polls and casting that ballot against Harper. I’m voting NDP. No, they’re not perfect. No settler-colonial government is, or ever has been. But I’m willing to bet Thomas Mulcair will be a whole lot less hostile than Harper. The Liberals are centrist. Their priorities don’t align with mine. The Greens are great but they just don’t stand a chance at winning. The NDP however has committed to electoral reform, meaning we can look forward to a future where the Greens can have fair representation. The NDP has also committed to launching an inquiry into #MMIW within it’s first 100 days in office, following through with the TRC’s recommendations, and implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ into every future legislation. That sure beats anything Harper has to offer.

If we can set our minds on electing a less hostile government, then maybe we won’t be operating in basic survival mode all the time. Once we’re beyond basic survival mode, our people will have more tools to work with in our arsenal against an oppressive settler-state. 

If you’re still on the fence about voting or who to vote for, these three video pieces are great. Full disclosure, I was behind making one of them.

Whoa-Canada from the team at #ShitHarperDid

“Clocking in at just under an hour, this is the film Stephen Harper doesn’t want you to watch before voting […] In turns captivating, moving, enraging and inspiring, Whoa Canada is never boring. It’s a testament to the power of a group of young people with a couple cameras and an idea, and a searing indictment of the Harper decade.”

Girl, You Don’t Know How Much Power You Have  from my friends Bita Joudaki & Sara Wylie

How Far Will You Go To Vote?

from Brigette DePape, Jeff Petry, and Myself (Script by Kevin Lee and a great team of funny people) with the support of the Council of Canadians

 

 

#Elxn42 #Elxn2015 #ShitHarperDid #IndigenousVote #CdnPoli #IndigPoli #StopHarper #NDP #FNMI #Oct19 #Mulcair #JennyKwan