You’ll notice something different about the Nation for this issue and the next. I will no longer be on the masthead as part of the editorial board.

The reason for this is simple. I have accepted a nomination for Deputy Grand Chief and feel it would not be right for me to cover an election that I am part of. This would be a conflict of interest and it isn’t something that I would be comfortable with.

I have asked two reporters to cover the elections- Chris Pare and Lyle Stewart. I will still cover stories and write as long as they are non-political in nature.

On a non-partisan political nature I encourage everyone to go and vote no matter who you support. Listen to the candidates and pick the one you think best represents your needs and desires. I have noticed that in elections lately there has been low voter turnouts. I asked one friend if he had voted and he said no as he felt it wouldn’t make any difference. I felt bad when I heard about this and thought about how important it was to vote. So I complied a small list of reasons why you should vote.

1. Critical issues are at stake. On August 28, we will elect people who will make decisions that affect our lives. They will make decisions that affect our health care, our jobs, our user fees, our public safety, our schools, our roads, our water and air, our economic growth and our quality of life. Your vote matters.

2. Voting is power. People who vote get their voices heard – and their needs met.

In the United States the elderlv vote more than any age group in the country and more than 35 per cent of the federal budget is spent on programs for the elderly. Your vote matters! 3. Only by voting can you effect change. In the federal elections the Cree vote was the difference between winning and losing. In April 1994, when South Africa held its first democratic election, 87 percent of the electorate went to the polls, some waiting in lines that wound for miles. Apartheid died that day.

4. It is a right to be cherished. Crees only received the opportunity to vote in federal and provincial elections in the late 1960s. We have, however, always been able to vote for our chiefs and in the 70s started to vote for new positions like the Grand Chief. It is not something that we should ever give up easily. Some have made the ultimate sacrifice for the right to vote. Among them: civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers, who were assassinated; Fannie Lou Hamer, who was beaten, lost her job and her house for insisting she had the right to vote in Mississippi; Vernon Dahmer, who died protecting his family and home because he allowed blacks to pay their poll tax at his store; and Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney, who were murdered for helping blacks register in the South.

5. Because it gives you the right to complain for the next three years. If you didn’t vote then why should you complain if things are going bad? If you voted then you can phone up those you voted for and ask why he or she haven’t delivered on their promises.

If this hasn’t convinced you then give me a call at the Nation: 514-272-3077.