Indeed, Mr. Trudeau often boasts about how the government has brought clean water to 109 First Nations communities. But that doesn’t mean the problem has gone away. There were 105 boil-water orders in effect at First Nations when Mr. Trudeau took power. But as the government has resolved the problems in some communities, issues popped up elsewhere. Today 52 boil-water orders remain.
“We’ve got action plans and project teams in each of those communities with the money and the expertise to get it done,” Ben Chin, Mr. Trudeau’s senior political adviser, told me in Burnaby, British Columbia, this week. “I’m sure that other boil-water orders will happen and we’ll have to pivot to that, too.”
But none of this surfaced during the campaign aside from a block of Indigenous questions during the English debate. Despite a headline-making year, Indigenous issues are still on the fringes of mainstream Canadian politics.
Earlier this year, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, the New Democratic Party member who represents Nunavut, said she would not seek re-election in part because of the difficulties she faced as an Indigenous lawmaker.
“The systems are built to work for certain people,” she told The Globe and Mail. “It’s middle-aged white men.”
In this election there are 50 Indigenous candidates, according to the Assembly of First Nations.
In general, it appears that Indigenous people are less likely to vote than other people in Canada. Elections Canada’s analysis only counts Indigenous people who live on reserves, leaving many others out. But in 2019, just over 51 percent of that population voted, compared to 67 percent of all eligible voters.