Idea alert

Paul Adams proposes seats for aboriginals in the House of Commons.

Having their own MPs would give Canada’s first peoples an opportunity to vote for representatives who hold their concerns as a priority and who could speak for them with a degree of independence and authority that no one now has. None of us thinks it is remarkable that Albertans or Québécois have their voices directly heard in Parliament: we have even had parties such as Reform and the Bloc which ran for election as voices for regional concerns. Is there something fundamentally wrong with aboriginal Canadians having a similar voice?

Aboriginal seats would hardly be a panacea. They would not displace protest or moral suasion. They would not end the need for negotiations over land and they would not remove the need for organizations such as the AFN. But they would ensure that aboriginal concerns were raised in the process of legislation, and not just in anguished howls afterward.

 More on New Zealand’s Maori MPs here and here.