Downtown Regina. Photo courtesy of tourismregina.com
Aboriginal candidates were shut out in yesterday’s civic election in Regina, but Indigenous issues did play a role in the outcomes. This is according to a group that represents off-reserve and non-status Indians in Saskatchewan.
Six of the nine candidates running in Regina’s Ward 6, which includes North Central, were Indigenous, but the winner was not.
Joel Murray is the son of incumbent Wade Murray, who decided not to seek re-election. Second place finisher, Bill Stevenson, works with youth at the Paul Dojack Centre in Regina. He is Aboriginal, but downplays the role race may have played in the outcome.
“You know, there were some very good candidates running there,” he said. “I am encouraged that there were so many Indigenous people that are seeing politics as an option to have their voice heard and try to make change.”
Meanwhile, the president of the Aboriginal Affairs Coalition of Saskatchewan, Kim Beaudin, says there were not many issues that got the attention of urban Aboriginals in Regina.
He says it was a bigger issue in Saskatoon where new mayor Charlie Clark did garner support because of his stand on a number of issues.
“He was more progressive when it came to issues around carding, racial profiling that kind of stuff,” he said. “He had a more positive message of inclusiveness, with respect to Indigenous people in Saskatoon.”
Voter turnout in Saskatoon was about 40 per cent, largely because of the tight mayoralty race.
In Regina it was only about 20 per cent, with Mayor Fougere easily coasting to a win, taking 70 per cent of the votes cast.