Alberta regional chief hopeful 'momentum' continues with Liberal minority government

The Alberta regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations says she’s looking forward to working on Indigenous issues with the Liberal minority government elected Monday.

“In the last four years, we’ve had momentum with our issues and I’m hopeful that momentum will continue,” Marlene Poitras told CBC’s Radio Active on Tuesday. 

Poitras, a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, said the assembly will monitor potential coalitions and alliances closely in the coming months and continue to lobby for funding for Indigenous communities.

A potential Liberal-NDP coalition could be a good thing for Indigenous peoples, she said.

Poitras said she liked the NDP platform and leader Jagmeet Singh’s concession speech, in which he talked about working toward reconciliation. Alberta elected one NDP MP — Heather McPherson in Edmonton Strathcona — and 33 Conservatives.

Miranda Jimmy, co-founder of Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton (RISE) and a member of Thunderchild First Nation, said she is assuming the Liberals will work with the NDP.

“In that scenario, though, I am concerned that Indigenous voices and perspectives will still be missed in the conversation,” Jimmy told CBC News.

No Indigenous candidates were elected in Alberta, but Poitras and Jimmy said they were encouraged by Jody Wilson-Raybould running as an Independent and keeping her seat in Vancouver Granville.

Jimmy called Wilson-Raybould “a beacon of truth and light.”

Poitras, who worked with the former attorney general in Ottawa, said she expects Wilson-Raybould will continue to be a strong voice for Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Jimmy said reports from Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls describe hundreds of ways the Liberal government could take action on reconciliation.

“If this government wants support going forward, they need to start acting on those things in a long-term way and not just a verbal commitment,” she said.

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