Indigenous leader Robert Chamberlin will seek federal NDP nomination in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

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      Chief Robert Chamberlin is best known to progressive British Columbians as a defender of wild salmon and an outspoken critic of open-net fish farms and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

      As the vice president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, he's also been involved in a range of other issues, ranging from land use to the treatment of children in government care.

      But there's a chance that he could become a member of Parliament—and the third Indigenous person from B.C. to have a seat in the House of Commons. 

      Today, Chamberlin announced that he's seeking the NDP nomination in Nanaimo-Ladysmith. The seat was vacated by New Democrat Sheila Malcolmson when she launched a successful campaign in the Nanaimo provincial by-election.

      Chamberlin has been the elected chief of the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa'mis First Nation since 2005.

      "There are the issues people in this riding care about—building more affordable homes, being able to pay for the prescription drugs you need, having child care you can access and afford," Chamberlin said in a news release. "But it's not going to happen when Mr. Trudeau only listens to the lobbyists and corporate executives who come knocking at his Ottawa door."

      Len Marchand was B.C.'s first Indigenous MP.
      Senate of Canada

      B.C.'s first Indigenous MP was Len Marchand, who represented the Liberals in Kamloops-Cariboo from 1968 to 1979. He was later appointed to the Senate.

      The second was Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was elected as a Liberal in Vancouver-Granville in 2015.

      Chamberlin's decision to seek a nomination offers a boost to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who will soon lose one of his two Indigenous MPs.

      The party's critic for reconciliation is Romeo Saganash, whose ancestry is Cree. He's not seeking reelection after representing the Quebec riding of Abitbi–Baie-James—Nunavik–Eeyou for two terms.

      The NDP's other Indigenous MP is Georgina Jolibois. She's a member of the Dene First Nation and represents the Manitoba riding of Desnethé-Missinippi–Churchill River.