Indigenous voters in northern Ontario uninspired by federal election campaign

One of the many questions as we approach election day is how many Indigenous voters will cast a ballot.  In 2015, voter turnout on First Nations in northeastern Ontario surged up to 63 per cent from 45 per cent the previous election.
(CBC )

The Issues People is a series of interviews with voters in northeastern Ontario who live election issues every day and how that influences how they will mark their ballots on Oct. 21.

Vivan Pratt thought she might vote for the first time in this election.

The 50-year-old from Constance Lake First Nation went into the campaign thinking this might be the year she exercises her right to vote for a Canadian government she doesn't really feel part of.

But now Pratt figures she'll stay home Monday and will instead put her faith in Indigenous leaders to make things better for her northern Ontario community and others. 

"It's going to end up the same way, because there is a government," she says. 

"There are things set in place that you can't change, that they can't change. But we can change them. We can stand up for our land and voice our opinions."

In 2015, voter turnout on First Nations in northeastern Ontario surged up to 63 per cent from 45 per cent the previous election.

Much of that was a vote against what was seen as an adversarial Conservative government.

Many of those votes went to the Liberals and party leader Justin Trudeau, who was prime minister at the time, with his promises of a "nation-to-nation relationship" with Indigenous peoples.

Anthony Nootchtai, a 45-year-old truck driver from Atikameksheng First Nation near Sudbury, says he and many others are disappointed with Trudeau so far.

He says he plans on voting on Monday, but hasn't been inspired by what he's heard from any of the politicians during this campaign.

"They'll try to use any means necessary to get that vote. In all honesty, I haven't really heard too too too much where it satisfies me," says Nootchtai. 

Hear more of what our Issues People panelists had to say on Indigenous issues in this election campaign:

In our latest installment of our election series The Issue People, we hear from three Indigenous voters from northeastern Ontario. They talk about what they are looking for in the federal election. 13:56
We reconvene our panel of Indigenous voters from across northeastern Ontario to get their thoughts on this federal election campaign and how it will impact their vote. That's if they decide to vote. Guest host Peter Williams speaks with Anthony Nootchtai of Atikameksheng and Vivian Pratt from Constance Lake First Nation. 7:55

About the Author

Erik White


Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to