Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Current and Historical Indigenous Senators in Canadian Senate

There are currently 22 vacancies in the Senate, now is the opportunity to considering First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who would make great Senators.

Dec. 8, 2015

With all this talk about Senate reform, scandals and abolition, now is a good time to remind people that there are hard-working Senators that do good work. Including a handful of Indigenous senators.

From an Indigenous perspective, First Nation, Metis and Inuit representation in the Upper House has been lacking. There are currently five Indigenous senators, with three becoming of mandatory retirement age over the next 5 years. 

Senators Watt, Sibbeston, Dyck and Lovelace Nicholas are members of the Liberal Senate Forum which is separate from the House of Commons Liberal Party of Canada caucus. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau removed the Liberal Senators from the Liberal Party caucus in January 2014. Senator Patrick Brazeau is currently styled as a Independent Senator but is not a sitting member, full restoration or potential to be removed are pending legal cases

There has been suggestions of abolishing the Senate. Respected professor and political pundit Emmet Mcfarlane suggests that abolition or certain structural changes to the Senate makeup would require constitutional change, with unanimous approval of Parliament and all 10 provincial legislatures. With Ontario, Quebec and other provinces against Senate abolition, it very unlikely that a constitutional change to the Senate would pass. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government has chosen a different path (Read) to reform the Senate. Basically, the government would set up a expert panel who would review potential appointments based on merit and contributions to Canadian. The panel would intern suggest appointments to the Prime Minister for appointment to the Senate. 

The Prime Minister plans on appointing five new Senators early in the new year (2016) and fulfill all vacancies by the end of 2016. There are currently 22 vacancies and more to come, now is a good time to start thinking the many First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who could be appointed.


Charlie Watt
Inuit (Nunavik), QC
Appointed: Jan. 16, 1984
Appointed by: PM Pierre Trudeau
Term: 31 years serves | 4 years remaining 


Nick G. Sibbeston
Liidii Kue (Dehcho)
Appointed: Sept. 2, 1999
Appointed: PM Jean Chretien
Term: 16 years served | 3 years remaining

Lillian Eva Dyck
Cree (Gordon First Nation), SK
Appointed: Mar. 3, 2005
Appointed by: PM Paul Martin
Term: 10 years served | 5 year remaining


Sandra Lovelace Nicholas
Maliseet (Tobique First Nation), NB
Appointed: Sept. 9, 2005
Appointed by: PM Paul Martin
Term: 10 years served | 8 remaining


Patrick Brazeau
Algonquin (Kitigan Zibi), BC
Appointed: Jan. 8, 2009
Appointed by: PM Stephen Harper
Term: 6 years | 34 years remaining
*Brazeau is a Senator but not currently sitting as a member in the Senate

History of Indigenous Senators
  • 15 Indigenous Senators appointed in total
  • 5 Indigenous Senators today within the 15 noted
  • 9 First Nation, 4 Metis and 2 Inuit
  • 3 Women 

List of Indigenous Senators appointed to date (Dec. 2015)

Parliament of Canada: http://tinyurl.com/zyg8sux

Blog: J. Fraser (Dec. 2015)

Saturday, 21 November 2015

42nd Parliament, Opposition Critics on Indigenous Affairs and Issues

Nov. 21, 2015 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been sworn in and has named his ministry. Stephen Harper has resigned as Conservative leader and Edmonton area MP Rona Ambrose has been named interim Conservative leader. Thomas Mulcair will remain as his party's leader with no mention of resigning his leadership, this is a potential for a leadership review at the NDP's convention. Elizabeth May maintains the Green Party Leader and sole MP.

You will notice the opposition has chosen two or more critics for one ministry, they may be tasked with specific files within the overall portfolio. The Liberal Government will still need to choose their Parliamentary Secretaries that provide support to the Minister and represents them in the House of Commons when they are not in attendance.

Generally party critics and parliamentary secretaries will sit on the House of Commons Standing Committee for their appropriate portfolios. Parties that don't have representation in a certain region regularly appoint high profile party representatives from the respective region as critics. Neither the Conservatives nor the NDP have MPs elected in any of the Atlantic region. Example, Scott Armstrong former CPC MP has been appointed critic for ACOA and is not a member of parliament. 


The Conservative Official Opposition Leader and Indigenous Affairs Critics

*Interim Leader

Full list of Conservative party critics can be found here

The NDP Opposition Leader and Indigenous Affairs Critics

Full list of NDP party critics can be found here

Green Party Leader and Indigenous Affairs Critic


Bloc Qubecois Leader and Indigenous Affairs Critic

As do minister, Critic roles can be shuffled, we will be sure to update this page if/when changes occur. (J. Fraser)

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Indigenous Candidates in 2016 Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election

Indigenous Candidates
Newfoundland & Labrador 
2015 Election - Nov. 30, 2015

Keith Russell
Progressive Conservative
Lake Melville, Labrador

Randy Edmunds
Tonga Mountains, Labrador

Gerry Byrne
Corner Brook, Newfoundland
Qalipu Mi'kmaq

Lisa Dempster

Shane Snook
St. Georges - Humbler, Newfoundland
Qalipu Mi'kmaq


Information - Newfoundland & Labrador Elections


-Understand that Newfoundland and Labrador are the same province, using specific Labrador or the Rock differentiation so people know where these ridings are.

- If you are aware of any other First Nation, Metis and Inuit candidates, please let us know.

By: J. Fraser (Oct. 17, 2015)

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Indigenous appointments in 23rd Canadian Ministry

Indigenous issues and interests take priority with appointment of Canada's 23rd Ministry

Oct. 5, 2015 (J. Fraser)

By now you have read, viewed and watched extensive coverage of the officiating of Justin Trudeau as Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister. He also announced his cabinet and 23rd Canadian ministry.  

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated he would appoint an equal amount of women and men to his cabinet and he has delivered on that promise. The new cabinet represents a broad cross-section of Canadian people of different ages, from diverse backgrounds and regions.

This includes two Indigenous people appointed to the cabinet, Jody Wilson-Raybould as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Hunter Tootoo as Minister of Fisheries, Ocean and the Canadian Coast Guard. Long time Indigenous advocate and former Liberal party critic Dr. Carolyn Bennett was appointed Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Affairs.

Once Parliamentary Secretaries have been appointed, we will add them to this list.

Rt. Hon Justin Trudeau  
(Also Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Youth)
Cabinet Committees:
Chair - Cabinet Committee on Agenda and Results
Chair - Cabinet Committee on Intelligence and Emergency Management

(Editorial Comments: Prime Minister Trudeau has campaigned on building a Nation-to-Nation relationship with Indigenous people, as Prime Minister and Intergovernmental affairs minister he will play a pivotal role in engaging Indigenous people and leadership)

Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould 
Cabinet Committees:
Vice-Chair - Cabinet Committee on Canada in the World and Public Security
Vice-Chair - Cabinet Committee on Intelligence and Emergency Management
Member - Cabinet Committee on Agenda and Results
Member - Cabinet Committee on Diversity and Inclusion
Member - Canada in the World and Public Security: Sub-Committee on Canada-United States Relations
Member - Cabinet Committee on Open and Transparent Government

(Editorial Comments: Minister Wilson-Raybould as a senior Minister will have an important role in developing MMIW enquiry, working on Indigenous justice issues, reversing government litigation against First Nations and developing the Nation-to-Nation relationship with Indigenous peoples)

Hon. Hunter Tootoo 
Bio | Twitter | Facebook
Mandate Letter Click on text above to see highlights. 
Cabinet Committees:
Member - Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs
Member - Cabinet Committee on Environment, Climate Change and Energy

(Editorial Comments - As Minister Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Minister Tootoo is also the regional minister for the north. He will play an important role in being a voice for the north and from an Indigenous perspective engaging Indigenous people on management of Canada's waterways. With the recent capsizing incident of off Tofino, Indigenous people have said they should play a role in Canada's Coast Guard)

Hon. Carolyn Bennett 
Cabinet Committees:
Member - Cabinet Committee on Diversity and Inclusion
Member - Cabinet Committee on Environment, Climate Change and Energy

(Editorial Comments - Minister Bennett has stated she sees her role as a minister of reconciliation, building bridges and engaging and consulting First Nations, Metis and Inuit people. The Trudeau government has committed to reviewing legislation imposed by the Harper government and ensuring Indigenous people have meaningful consultation and fulfill the duty to consult.)

Yvonne Jones

List of all Parliamentary Secretaries 

All Ministerial Mandate Letters include this preamble specific to Indigenous peoples: No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

You are expected to do your part to fulfill our government’s commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure gender parity and that Indigenous Canadians and minority groups are better reflected in positions of leadership.
Source: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/ministerial-mandate-letters
Individual Mandate Directives to be posted soon.


The Cabinet committee is a set of Committees in the Canadian Federal Government that are responsible for enacting the operations of the Government's agenda.

Learn more about Cabinet Committees and which Ministers sit on specific committees: http://pm.gc.ca/sites/pm/files/docs/Cab_committee-comite.pdf

The full Canadian Cabinet (Ministry): http://pm.gc.ca/eng/cabinet 

The names of several departments are being changed as follows:
• Citizenship and Immigration Canada to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada;
• Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to Indigenous and Northern    Affairs Canada;
• Industry Canada to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
• Environment Canada to Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Source: http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/index.asp?lang=eng&page=docs&doc=mog-ag-eng.htm


Stay tuned we will write an article about NDP/CPC Shadow Cabinet and Indigenous Critics when they are appointed.