New Mrs. Universe says Tory government treats First Nations people 'like terrorists'
Ashley Callingbull-Burnham urges aboriginal people to vote in upcoming federal election
The first Canadian and First Nations woman to win Mrs. Universe is using her new fame to urge aboriginal people in Canada to vote to oust the Conservatives in the federal election.
Callingbull-Burnham, who is from Alberta's Enoch Cree Nation, west of Edmonton, won the Mrs. Universe contest Aug. 29. The international beauty pageant started in 2007 and focuses on married contestants.
Since her win, Callingbull-Burnham has been vocal about First Nations concerns in Canada.
"I believe that this government was created to work against us and not for us," said Ashley Callingbull-Burnham in an interview with Rosemary Barton on CBC's Power & Politics on Wednesday.
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"There's just so many problems with it for First Nations people. We're always put on the back burner," she said.
We are being treated like terrorists if we're fighting for our land and our water.- Ashley Callingbull-Burnham, Mrs. Universe
Adequate housing, clean water, proper education and oil pipelines are all major issues for First Nations people, she said.
"With the bills that have been passed, we are being treated like terrorists if we're fighting for our land and our water," Callingbull-Burnham said.
"It's our right to, and now we're being treated like terrorists if we do anything about it ... It's ridiculous."
Voting can 'make a difference'
Callingbull-Burnham is eager to use her status as Mrs. Universe to voice the concerns of First Nations people and raise awareness about the importance of voting.
"Just one vote can make a difference," she said, explaining how she will definitely be voting in the federal election. She encouraged other First Nations people to register to vote and come out on election day as well.
Callingbull-Burnham did not specify who she would be voting for. She's still undecided about which party will earn her vote, though she said she knows it won't be the Conservatives.
She did not rule out a future run at prime minister herself.
"You never know what will happen," she said.