Legal scholar asks why so few Aboriginals vote in Canada

If the right to vote is considered a human right and a civic duty, is voting a question of justice, and, if so, should Aboriginal peoples be reasonably expected to participate, asks political scientist Jennifer Dalton in her talk Feb. 8 as part of the McLaughlin College Lunch Talk series.

In Canada, voter turnout is at an all time low, but Aboriginal turnout falls well below the mainstream. Jennifer DaltonThis is not surprising, given ongoing oppression and systemic racism against Aboriginal peoples, argues Dalton, a political scientist and legal scholar.

Jennifer Dalton

In her talk, “Is Aboriginal Electoral Engagement a Question of Justice?: Examining Participation and Attitudes in Canada”, she will consider voting as a civic duty alongside the causes of Aboriginal disengagement from Canadian electoral institutions. In particular, she will look at the impact of public attitudes on perceptions of institutional legitimacy and corresponding engagement in Canadian electoral institutions.

Dalton’s talk takes place Feb. 8 in 140 McLaughlin College from 12 to 1:30pm. A light lunch will be served.

Dalton is a faculty member in York’s Department of Political Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. She is also a visiting scholar at the Centre for Refugee Studies and conducts research in the Office of Institutional Research & Analysis.

After studying political science, Dalton (LLM ’06, PhD ’10) studied law at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. She specializes in Aboriginal law and politics, Canadian government and constitutional law, and elections and civic engagement. She has published numerous book chapters and articles in these areas and her book, Aboriginal Engagement: Reconciliation through Electoral Participation and Land Negotiations in Canada, will soon be published by UBC Press.

This talk is co-sponsored by McLaughlin College Master’s Office and the York Centre for Practical Ethics.