Sorting out the native right to vote on November 19

Candidate ncounters some confusion while on the campaign trail with respect to native voting rights.

  • Nov. 9, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Dear Dan Ashton,

I have been confounded by the misinformation surrounding the electoral process in Area “G”, part of the Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen.  First, our current Director Christensen informed a member of the public that “only one all-candidate’s meeting could be held”, and now I hear that First Nations people cannot vote if they live on Reserve.

I see on the regional district website that the eligibility requirements are nominal to vote in the upcoming election:  one must be 18 years of age or older by voting day; be a resident of the area for at least 30 days prior to the election; and finally, a voter must be a Canadian citizen.

When I view the map of the area encompassed by the regional district, I see large tracts of land which indicate Indian Reserves, namely those of the Upper and Lower Similkameen Indian Band.

I have been astonished to hear politicians and residents alike say that Indians cannot vote in this upcoming election, as I am certain that most Upper and Lower Similkameen Band members fulfill the requirements listed above and posted on the regional district website.

Furthermore, I have personal friends of First Nations and Metis descent who live both on and off reserve, who intend to vote.  In addition, I know non-native voters living on Reserve lands who intend to vote in this upcoming election.

It is quite clear that property ownership is not a qualification to vote, as renters and other residents are able to vote, so I don’t understand what basis of an argument anyone has to say that the “Indians can’t vote.”

How could the system deny anyone living on Reserve lands the right to vote simply because they were born to the land of this area, and continue to live in it?  It doesn’t make sense and I daresay it would seem to contravene our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I wish to make clear the reality facing the Upper and Lower Similkameen people as regards their right to vote in the November 19th election for Area “G” director as soon as possible.  Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

 

Regards, Angelique Wood

 

 

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