FREDERICTON (Sep. 11, 2020) – The six Chiefs of the Wolastoqey Nation are urging community members to vote with their head and their heart.
Provincial ridings within the Wolastoqey Nation are among the most competitive in the Sept. 14th election. Members are encouraged to not only vote, but also to vote strategically.
“Voting is a sacred duty, where it be within our First Nations communities, provincially or federally,‘’ said Kingsclear Chief Gabriel Atwin. “Our collective voice can be heard. It is important. Together, we can’t be overlooked or ignored.”
In most ridings, chiefs recommend that residents carefully choose between the Liberal and Green candidate, voting for whichever has the better chance of winning.
“Over recent days, we surveyed the political parties on their approach to indigenous issues,’’ said Oromocto Chief Shelley Sabattis. “The results are in, and the Greens and the Liberals are the two parties most aligned with our priorities. They are two of four parties most likely to have seats in the
Tobique Chief Ross Perley added: “In this case, strategic voting means siding with a party aligned with our priorities and most apt to win in a given riding.’’
The six Chiefs represent communities that encompass portions of ridings up and down the Wolastoq.
“Our assessment is that voting Green and Liberal can make a difference in select ridings,’’ said St. Mary’s Chief Allan Polchies Jr.
The St. Mary’s First Nation sits inside an urban riding that is home to a tight three-way race between the Greens, Liberals and Progressive Conservatives. Fredericton North was won by the Liberals in 2018 by
only 261 votes over the Progressive Conservatives with the Greens in 1,130
votes behind the Liberals.
“The Green Party has a strong candidate with a background in business and he is challenging the Liberals and Conservatives,’’ observed Chief Polchies. “I am pleased that both the Green Party and the Liberals have made an extra effort to respond to First Nations’ issues in this campaign.’’
Most other ridings are shaping up as traditional battles between the two
Two high profile candidates are engaged in the riding of Oromocto-Lincoln-Fredericton, that encompasses the Oromocto First Nation. In 2018, the riding was won by the Progressive Conservatives by only 93 votes over the Liberals.
Kingsclear First Nation is in the riding of Fredericton West-Hanwell that was won by the Progressive Conservatives in 2018 by only 335 votes over the Liberals. The two parties are the main contenders in this election as well.
Tobique First Nation is found in the riding of Carleton-Victoria. The Liberals won in 2018 by only 244 votes over the Progressive Conservatives, and the same two candidates are squaring off again this year.
The Wolastoqey community of Madawaska sits in Edmundston-Madawaskwa Centre, a riding that has been strongly contested by
Liberals and Conservatives in recent elections. It was won handily by the Liberals in 2018, after the Progressive Conservatives claimed a narrow win in 2014.
First Nations people in the riding of Carleton-York, which encompasses the
Woodstock First Nation, face a different scenario. Here, the two parties on the right side of the political spectrum attract the majority of the votes. Carleton-York that was won by the Progressive Conservatives in 2018 by only 535 votes over the upstart People’s Alliance.
“It is very likely that the Progressive Conservative and People’s Alliance
candidates will again have strong showings in the Carleton-York riding,’’ said Woodstock Chief Tim Paul. “Both will be challenged to secure First Nations votes when both of the parties neglect and dismiss our priorities.’’
The Chiefs are disappointed that neither the Progressive Conservatives nor the People’s Alliance parties completed the survey distributed by the Wolastoqey Nation.
“We asked parties to detail their approach to 12 current Wolastoqey priorities,’’ said Madawaska Chief Patricia Bernard. “The Liberals, Greens and New Democrats all responded and all were given top marks for their replies.”
Approximately 50 per cent of Wolastoqey people in New Brunswick live outside of First Nations and may live in different ridings throughout the province. The Chiefs encourage those members to vote in the ridings they reside and choose between the Liberal, Green and New Democratic Party
candidate that best has a chance at winning.
Media Contact: Tim Porter, 506-461-0554, firstname.lastname@example.org