• November 28, 2021

2021 Federal Election: Wait, You’re Backing Who?

Election image of the day: With Jagmeet Singh watching, and cameras rolling, two prominent First Nations chiefs made it known that they would not back their candidate.

At a sunny Thursday morning NDP press conference in Winnipeg, steps from Jagmeet Singh, Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Manitoba Assembly of Chiefs gave the media enthusiastic endorsement: “I think it’s time for a new beginning in the North, and I absolutely support Shirley Robinson in her candidacy. “The only problem? Robinson is a liberal. At the beginning of the press conference, Singh criticized the liberals for not doing enough with reconciliation, not respect treaty rights and fail to deliver results after hundreds of nameless graves were found on former residential school grounds in recent months. But when the other attending chief, Big Chief Garrison Settee, was asked point blank Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, if he was supporting Niki Ashton, the prominent new Democrat who has been in the Churchill since 2011, said, “No.” Both bosses congratulated Singh. But they both said that They strongly believe that Parliament needs more indigenous voices. Ashton is not indigenous; Shirley Robinson is. Their determination to put First Nations identity before partisanship, Dumas added, is inspired by provincial MLA Elijah HarperThe 1990 decision to break with his party, the Manitoba NDP, and oppose the Meech Lake Accord. Still, his words on Thursday created an awkward moment that took a few days to register in the national media. In hindsight, it seems good that Singh wore a large black mask at the event. Underneath, her mouth must have been open in dismay.

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