It appears Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has his work cut out for him in terms of appealing to First Nations voters in the upcoming federal election.
A recent poll says Liberal support among Indigenous voters has dropped 17 points from where it was in 2015, to 24 per cent.
This is two points below the Conservatives and NDP who both sit at 26 per cent in terms of Indigenous support.
University of Saskatchewan professor Ken Coates says there is no doubt the way former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was kicked out of caucus continues to do a lot of damage to the Liberal brand.
“The Jody Wilson-Raybould thing is very serious,” he says. “This is somebody who went to Ottawa specifically to help the Prime Minister do what he said he wanted to do. Was not just to do incrementalism but to do transformative change in the way in which Indigenous people interacted with government.”
Wilson-Raybould, who was an accomplished lawyer and First Nations politician before getting into federal politics, was expelled from the Liberal caucus this spring after an ongoing dispute with the Prime Minister’s Office over how a court case against SNC Lavalin should be handled.
Coates adds overall it appears a general cynicism of party politics has once again set in amongst Indigenous people in the last four years which could affect voter turnout.
“So, I don’t think Indigenous issues will figure very prominently. I don’t think as many people will vote, which is always unfortunate. I also don’t think it will make a major difference in the election one way or the other.”
Voters head to the polls in October.
(PHOTO: University of Saskatchewan professor Ken Coates. File photo.)