Friday, 22 November 2013

governance + reform

Canada has frequently discussed the concept of guaranteed aboriginal representation but has never acted on it.  Proposals for guaranteed representation in the House of Commons and the Senate were put forward during constitutional discussions prior to 1982 and again during the “aboriginal round” of meetings in the mid-1980s.  Senator Len Marchand – who had been the first aboriginal person elected to Parliament* – put together proposals for guaranteed seats in work he headed up for the Lortie Commission.  Lortie rejected guaranteed seats per se, but recommended a process for creating Aboriginal Electoral Districts using the existing framework of the Electoral Boundaries Act.  The Charlottetown Accord – defeated in a 1992 referendum – contained provisions for aboriginal seats in the Senate. 
... The number of ways in which aboriginal people could be provided representation within parliamentary systems is limited only by the imagination.  This is reflected in the large number of international examples and in the range of proposals that have been put forward from time to time in Canada....

Guaranteed Parliamentary Representation for Aboriginal Peoples, The Honourable Nick G. Sibbeston

*Correction: Louis Riel was the first indigenous person elected to Parliament:

We should take note that Louis Riel was a member of Parliament. He was elected three times to the Canadian Parliament and was never allowed to take his seat, although Métis lore has it that he did paddle his canoe to the foot of Parliament Hill with his Métis colleagues, climbed the cliff, entered his name into the permanent record and took his seat one night in 1871.~ Pat Martin, Louis Riel Act, Bill C-302 Oct 16, 2013

Electoral Justice for Aboriginal People in Canada, Trevor Knight [pdf]

Meet Len Marchand a man of many firsts and a great Canadian.

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