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Representation

Many Canadians say a change is badly needed in how governments are elected, especially our Federal Government. The problem they say is that our government, at best, is elected by a minority of voters ? normally by less than half the voters leaving the rest 'unrepresented'. More troublesome, it?s said, is that almost no one in the country actually elects the Prime Minister. This privilege rests only with those who live in the Prime Minister's riding.

We're told that there is no appetite or no probable consensus to carry on the discussion of electoral reform and proportional representation and so the discussion has come to an end.

This is truly unfortunate. It is now that we need to be serious about representation because now we find more people are becoming disillusioned and feeling disconnected from government.

Complicating the matter, it looks like representation has also been taking on a new meaning. At one time, representation meant that you gave someone the job or responsibility to voice your concerns in the local, provincial or national meeting place. For a long time now we haven't sent our representatives to Ottawa, rather The Liberals, Conservatives, the NDP and others have sent sales people (Candidates) to us to get approval for their platform and to vote to give them a mandate. It has very little, if anything at all, to do with representing the interests and concerns of people.

Of course all of this makes sense when we see non-representative government at work every day. The rest of us who have concerns are relegated to what some call the 'politics of complaint'. Endless groups throughout the country representing one cause or another are busy presenting complaints through the press, or through social media or through street demonstration. This seems to be less than ideal. Everyday politics cannot be simply a matter of complaint raised to those who hold power with a minority of support. When was the last time you felt your interests have been truly represented?

For First Nations, representation has always been a challenge. We have never had true representation in the national arena. From time-to-time we have had Members of Parliament who hail from indigenous communities, traditions or backgrounds, but they have represented their party or government policies and not necessarily the indigenous community.

This gap in representation needs to be filled. We should look to places like New Zealand where they ensure Maori participation, representation and input.

As the true founding people's of this continent, and as key partners in the future growth and development of Canada, we need to seriously discuss real First Nations representation. Indigenous people make up nearly 5% of the total Canadian population and by this count there should be 15 seats assigned to First Nation's Members of Parliament so that finally our voice can be heard.

Let's make representation real, practical and lets move this country and our relationship forward.

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