Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) citizens could soon find themselves with a brand new car, just for voting in the federal election on Sept. 20.
The MMF wants all Indigenous Peoples to get out and vote in this year’s federal election, and they are giving its citizens an incentive by offering a draw for a number of prizes if they vote.
Any MMF citizen who takes a picture outside of a polling station and tags the MMF will have their name put into a draw to win PS5 consoles or the grand prize, a brand new Chevy Spark.
“This competition process and incentive process that we’re putting in does not tell you how to vote, who to vote for, or any particular candidate, it actually says take a picture outside a polling station that you’re going out to vote and look in the website and here’s their answers to the 15 priorities, and you choose who you believe would best serve your needs, your family’s needs, your community’s needs, or your nation’s needs,” said MMF President David Chartrand.
“We’re encouraging you to get your voiced heard because I know some of the key issues that we reached out to our people, they have 15 priorities that we have been able to accumulate to be the priorities, and they want to get these matters addressed.”
Citizens who help bring other individuals to polling stations will also be eligible to win one of five 50 inch flat screen televisions.
Chartrand said the MMF did not reach out to Elections Canada regarding the incentive.
“I did not phone Elections Canada to tell me how to run my government or how to get incentives established and I don’t think they have a role to play in that in my view. Elections Canada’s got to make sure that I’m not in any way going out to, if I’m using any type of incentives probably to choose one particular party or candidate, that definitely, probably would be a question for Elections Canada but to get democracy in place to get our citizens out to vote, Elections Canada should be supporting it,” he said.
Elections Canada wouldn’t say if it supports the prize draws, or if they don’t, and whether or not it violates the election act.
“We can’t comment on specific cases. It would be up to the commissioner to determine if there was a violation of the act or not, if they receive a complaint, based on the particular facts at hand,” said a spokesperson for Elections Canada in an emailed statement.
The Elections Canada office said they don’t confirm or deny whether a complaint has been filed regarding a particular issue in an emailed statement to APTN News.
“Every complaint received is reviewed to determine if it falls under the Commissioner’s mandate,” Elections Canada said.
“If the issue falls within the Commissioner’s jurisdiction, a review or investigation may be carried out to determine whether or not there was, in fact, wrongdoing under the act.”
Chartrand added the money to pay for the prizes is not federal money but money supplied by the MMF, and hopes the incentive gets young voters out.
“I’m not using one dime of federal money here and this is not a political paying me, this is the metis government being wise and incentivizing our people with our own resources, with our own collection of supports that’s going out there, we’re not using any federal money whatsoever in this,” he said.