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Indigenous Parliamentarians Across Canada: By the Numbers

Following Confederation, Indigenous Peoples in Canada faced various restrictions which prevented many of them from participating actively within the country’s parliamentary system. Enfranchisement was delayed for Status Indians and uneven across provinces when federal legislation extending voting rights was repealed.¹ Systemic barriers brought about by the affects of centuries of colonialism, including poverty, racial prejudice and lack of adequate health care and education further limited capacity for participation. Moreover, the nation to nation understanding of treaty rights led some Indigenous Canadians to decline to exercise their right to vote or stand for office when enfranchisement was granted. Despite facing these kinds of barriers, Indigenous Parliamentarians have grown in number over the past few decades.

The Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada has confirmed the following number of Members self-identify as Indigenous as of April 10, 2019. In the case of Yukon, which does not have a legislative librarian, its numbers were confirmed through the Yukon Legislative Assembly Office.

¹ Indigenous Suffrage, The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Graphic credits: Canada with Provinces - Single Color by

Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 42 no 2

Last Updated: 2019-11-29