It is something that we have been looking at very much here in Saskatchewan.
There are 74 first nations in the province. A lot of people aren't aware of that.
Traditionally, in election administration in the province, whether on the provincial or the federal level, our relationship with first nations was a three-month activity. We would go to our chiefs and have a discussion with them about getting a list in time for the election and getting things organized. We would ask permission to work with them in order to achieve a general election in which they would participate.
Now we've taken a different approach at Elections Saskatchewan, which is that we believe we need to have a long-term relationship, an equal and respectful relationship, with our first nations chiefs, so we have reached out to our 74 chiefs in order to work with them on an ongoing basis.
I began as Chief Electoral Officer in 2012. This time around we began to ramp up almost a year before the process. We began to touch base with our chiefs and asked them to appoint individuals who could work with us to get the lists in place and we asked them to work on what it means to have identification for the process. As an election administrator, I don't focus on voter turnout. What I focus on is barriers. For every single voter in the province, I'm concerned about possible barriers; in that community, identification is an issue, so we began to work with them on that.
After the last general election, our next step will be to maintain relationships across the province with the 74 chiefs so that come the next general election, they will be aware of what is required to be able to vote.
It's about an ongoing relationship of respect with first nations chiefs and their people, and that's what we're doing.