I would like to use my platform on Femonomic to speak about something deeply troubling. Recently there was a federal election held in Canada. Obviously, every Canadian citizen over the age of 18 has the right to vote. Voting is a right that many people in this country have not always had and whose ancestors fought incredibly hard for. What is disturbing to me and many others is the fact that Indigenous people in various areas of the country were hindered and prevented from casting their vote this year. I will highlight a specific story from CBC about a woman in Kenora, Ontario who found out that her polling station on election day was a 6-hour drive from where she lived, as well as her son’s polling station being over an hour away. Several other Indigenous people shared that their polling stations were several hundred kilometres away. I’m not sure about anyone else but typically your polling station is usually as close as possible, my polling station was less than 5 km away from my house and I know of several other polling stations that were in the neighborhood. After reading the article on CBC’s website, I felt angry, and it was quite obvious that this was a deliberate act. In 2021 this is unacceptable, and I am deeply disappointed in the Canadian government once again (but not surprised), I am also deeply disappointed in anyone who worked in this election and did nothing to rectify the situation. I have also read about Indigenous people on reserves not being aware that they would not be able to vote on voting day if polls were available to them during the advanced polls. This is not how the voting poll centres work, by the way, they are available for all days of voting, most especially on the actual voting day (September 20).
There are also talks of 116 Indigenous communities not having ballot boxes at all. The deliberate act to prevent Indigenous people from voting in this federal election is extremely shocking to me, maybe not to others, but I really can’t believe something like this would happen after the leaders of each party travelled the country speaking about how important Indigenous issues are in Canada, and then turning around and not even allowing those people to vote. Making it so inaccessible for them that they just can’t vote at all. I am angry and I’m disappointed and if you are not angry and disappointed, you need to re-evaluate a few things. This is a serious issue and what’s even more appalling about it is the fact that there is absolutely no news coverage of it other than the one article that I’ve read on CBC. I’ve discussed this in one of my classes, but I have not seen a lot of information about it online. Again, this is deeply disturbing and very concerning for a country like Canada to prohibit and almost target a group of people whom they have wronged time and time again. I just don’t even have words to describe how that must feel.
I want to offer my sincerest apologies to any Indigenous person who was not able to vote in this election because of the deliberate and disgusting actions of our disappointingly awful government. I know that my words cannot do much, but I want you to know that I’ve seen what they have done and that I will not be quiet about it, and if you were reading this as a settler or a colonizer it is now your job and your responsibility to do some research and educate yourself, to be a better ally and to hold the government accountable. I’m going to link the CBC article and I will hopefully update this article soon with more information, but until then this angry article will have to do.
Stay safe and share with a friend.