Are non-native voters considering aboriginal issues in this election?
Political experts weigh in on whether Canadians want questions about First Nations issues answered
All parties have been trying to reach out to a growing number of aboriginal voters in the year's federal election — but are non-native Canadians going to be basing their vote on issues facing indigenous peoples?
Would-be MPs across northern Ontario seem to be speaking to aboriginal voters, who are expected to cast ballots in record numbers on Oct. 19.
Nickel Belt voter Tony Fasciano said it doesn't seem to be on the radar for most Canadians — but he thinks it should be.
"I think we should look at that as non-natives, and maybe do vote on what's to be done for the natives."
Caroline Meawasige from Serpent River First Nation said she hopes Canadians get an education during the election.
"They have to realize that we don't get everything for nothing. They have to realize that we want to be treated equally."
"Look at this as such a controversial set of issues they just to stay away from it and don't want to talk about it at all," he said.
"You just sort of shrug your shoulders and say it's an impossible situation."
Like most things in a democracy, getting past that attitude is up to the voters, no matter what background they are, Tabachnick added.
University of Regina professor Joyce Green said most Canadians don't want to confront the troubling history of how the country was formed.
"They don't want to talk about these things. It makes them uncomfortable. And political parties don't like to talk about them," she said.
"So they re-frame aboriginal issues as just achieving equality in the institutions of the state. And that erases our colonial history."
Green noted that's why parties tend to focus their platforms on aboriginal education and housing, instead of on the treaty relationship itself.