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Indigenous Peoples and Affinity Voting in Canada

  • Simon Dabin (a1), Jean François Daoust (a2) and Martin Papillon (a3)


Studies interested in Indigenous voting in Canada tend to focus on socio-economic, cultural and political factors that explain their lower levels of electoral participation. While highly relevant given Canada's ongoing reality as a settler-colonial state, these studies are of limited help in making sense of recent increases in electoral engagement in Indigenous communities across the country. Using data from four elections between 2006 and 2015, this study focuses instead on why some Indigenous individuals vote and how they vote. Our analysis suggests that one of many possible reasons for the recent surge in Indigenous turnout has to do with the candidates presenting themselves for elections. Higher voter turnout in Indigenous communities corresponds with a higher proportion of Indigenous candidates. This trend is consistent with the literature on affinity voting. We also find that political parties who present an Indigenous candidate receive more votes in constituencies with a high proportion of Indigenous voters.

Les études qui portent sur le vote des Autochtones au Canada tendent à se focaliser sur l'abstention électorale et les facteurs socio-économiques, culturels et politiques qui l'expliquent. Bien que ces études soient pertinentes, notamment dans le contexte colonial de l’État canadien, elles ne permettent pas d'expliquer l'augmentation récente de la participation électorale dans certaines communautés à travers le pays. À partir de données recueillies pour les quatre élections fédérales entre 2006 et 2015, cet article s'intéresse au pourquoi et au comment du vote Autochtone. Notre étude démontre, parmi d'autres explications possibles, que le taux de participation autochtone est lié à l'identité du candidat qui se présente dans la circonscription. Ainsi, plus la proportion de candidats autochtones est grande, plus le taux de participation sera élevé. Ces résultats sont consistants avec la littérature sur le vote affinitaire. Nous démontrons également que les partis politiques qui présentent un candidat autochtone recevront plus de votes dans les circonscriptions avec une forte proportion d’électeurs Autochtones.


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