Nova Scotia election: Aboriginal candidate’s historic bid falls short

By on May 31, 2017


NDP candidate Trevor Sanipass. (Photo: Trevor Sanipass for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank/Facebook)
NDP candidate Trevor Sanipass. (Photo: Trevor Sanipass for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank/Facebook)

HALIFAX—A Nova Scotia man has lost his historic bid to become the first Mi’kmaq elected to the provincial legislature.

NDP candidate Trevor Sanipass came in a strong third in Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

Before polls closed, Sanipass told The Canadian Press that the excitement around his candidacy extended well beyond his riding, with aboriginal people around the province cheering him on.

“Having that (aboriginal) voice really is important, because right now, we’ve never had one,” Sanipass said. “We need more representation at all levels of government.”

Sanipass, a 41-year-old member of the Eskasoni First Nation, said he decided to run for office for one of the same reasons he became a correctional officer: The overrepresentation of aboriginal offenders in Canada’s prisons.

“I just can’t sit back and not do anything,” said Sanipass, who is also a nationally recognized arm wrestler. “I wanted to be part of whatever change is need.”

Sanipass said he campaigned to represent all constituents of his riding, but had he won, he wouldn’t have shied away from aboriginal issues.

“If it’s matters reflecting anything with the aboriginal and indigenous communities, I’ll voice my concerns,” said Sanipass. “If it changes the decision-making in some way just by me being there, I’m good with it.”

Sanipass said he hoped his campaign would make history for all Nova Scotians, but more than that, he longed for a day when aboriginal politicians won’t be a novelty.

He said he hopes other members of the Mi’kmaq community will try their hand at politics.