National friendship centres preparing for upcoming federal election in urban areas

The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is preparing election kits that will be sent out to partner organizations across the country.

The NAFC represents 113 friendship centres across the country.

They offer culturally appropriate programming and services to First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples living in cities.

NAFC Executive Director Jocelyn Formsma said it’s important the centres prepare their clients for the election.

“We’re encouraging friendship centres to invite candidates to the centre, so that they’re aware of the programing,” she said.

“And that people at the centres are also aware of who the candidates are.”

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According to a poll commissioned by APTN and conducted by Environics, the environment is one of the most pressing issues on the ballot this year with housing it on the lower end at 6 per cent.

But according to Formsa, the urban population’s needs are different.

“Making sure people have a safe place to live, shelter, making sure that families have support, that children have support especially those who are leaving the child welfare system or currently involved with the child welfare system,” she said.

72 per cent of those surveyed said they’ll definitely vote on election night, but that number is often higher than the actual turnout.

Gabrielle Fayant, the founding member of a non-profit youth group Assembly of Seven Generations, said the number of youth at the polls could be lower than in 2015 due to the fact the politicians have failed to reach out to them.

“It seems like a mixed response, like some youth are really outspoken and they’re saying like we need to go out and vote and other youth are just like, why, why should we even vote”, said Fayant.

The poll also found that 73 per cent of respondents said child welfare is a very important issue, something that Fayant agrees.

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