EDITOR’S NOTE: The Green Party of Canada finally appointed Adeana Young to their Shadow Cabinet as Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs Critic.
Every day, big Indigenous issues that affect Canada’s future are being discussed and debated. And yet, the Green Party of Canada is nowhere to be found.
Even when a political party is not in power, they still have work to do. They can throw a spotlight on government action — and inaction.
If you do a good job of criticizing how the Prime Minister does something, voters might notice.
So, why are the Greens Absent Without Leave (AWOL) on Indigenous issues?
For non-Indigenous people, the provinces are responsible for folks’ wellbeing. That means they look after housing, health care, and education, among other things.
But for nearly two million First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people across the country, the federal government is the group in charge of those things. It’s part of the Canadian constitution. So that makes it even more important for the Green Party to have someone watching what the Liberals do.
Indigenous issues have always been important to Canada’s success. They’re even more important now. There’s the growing list of unmarked graves at old residential schools, a new Inuk Governor-General, and ongoing Indigenous land and resource issues across the country, including here on Vancouver Island.
Every other major federal party has an Indigenous affairs critic. That’s the person whose biggest job is to watch what the ruling party is doing on Indigenous issues and point out where it’s screwing up.
The Greens had one for at least the last 14 years. That is, until Green Party MP Jenica Atwin walked across the aisle to join the Liberals in June.
The Greens announced their shadow cabinet more than three weeks ago. A shadow cabinet is basically the whole group of critics. Twenty-three Green Party members were given issues to track. They have two critics for Culture, two more for Innovation, another two for Youth… and the list goes on.
Don’t get me wrong, these issues are important. But two each?
And no Indigenous affairs critic? There are certainly important issues to keep track of, and plenty to criticize.
A little strange, right?
Does the Green Party think Indigenous issues are important?
That also raises the question of why the Green Party doesn’t have any Indigenous people as critics?
Maybe they just had an oops moment. On the one hand, maybe the Greens just can’t find someone to fill the role. But if that’s the case, that raises a bunch of other issues.
On the other hand, this might be another sign that the Green Party is in meltdown.
Whatever the reason, leaving this role empty is a huge mistake. Especially now. It makes it seem like Indigenous issues aren’t that important to the Greens, exactly when they need to show they are a serious party.
We hope it’s just taking a while to find the right person for the job. It’s important that all parties — and all Canadians — need to be involved in these critical conversations.