Sanipass hopes to become first Mi’kmaw elected to NS Legislature

Trevor Sanipass ran for the NDP in the Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank riding in the Nova Scotia election May 30/Photo by Stephen Brake

Trevor Sanipass hopes to become the first Mi’kmaw elected to the Nova Scotia Legislature.

“We need Indigenous representation throughout Nova Scotia so I felt that it was important (to run), Sanipass explained during an interview at his campaign headquarters in Fall River, N.S. on Saturday.

Sanipass, 41, is running for the New Democratic Party in the riding of Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank. He is hoping to unseat incumbent Liberal candidate Bill Horne in the upcoming Nova Scotia election on May 30.

Other candidates running in the riding include retired RCMP officer Dan McNaughton for the Progressive Conservative Party and aerospace engineer Anthony Edmonds for the Green Party.

“I chose the NDP because some of my teachings align well with the policies and views of the New Democratic Party,” Sanipass said.

A member of the Eskasoni First Nation in Cape Breton, Sanipass has been living and working in Halifax area for the past ten years. He currently resides in Beaver Bank, N.S. with his partner, Chantel and their three children.

Sanipass, who is currently a probation officer, has previously worked as a corrections officer at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth, N.S. He is also a competitive arm wrestler.

One of the reasons Sanipass said he chose to run for the NDP in the provincial election was a personal one. His stepson, Levi, recently moved to Toronto to study filmmaking because there were better opportunities for him there to work in film.

“The only reason why he went to Toronto was the cutting of the film tax credit,” Sanipass explained.

“Because of cutting of the film tax by the McNeil and Liberal government, he moved away to a different province,” he said.

Making history if elected to the Nova Scotia Legislature

If elected, Sanipass would become the first Mi’kmaw elected to the Nova Scotia Legislature/Photo by Stephen Brake

Since the election was called on April 30, Sanipass has been knocking on doors in the Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank riding and talking with local residents about issues such as health care, transportation, housing and the environment.

“We do have some issues here in this riding with the proposed rock quarry,” Sanipass explained.

“I’m not opposed to any economic growth but, you know, we do need to protect Mother Earth from any harm,” he said.

Sanipass says he understands that he would be making history if he is elected to represent Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

“I do understand the importance but it’s the people, who they decide to elect,” he added.

“I do remind them that this would be historic, not just for this riding but for all of Nova Scotia,” Sanipass said.

Since he announced he was running for a seat in the provincial legislature, Sanipass says he has been contacted by Indigenous people throughout the province.

Sanipass hopes his campaign inspires other Indigenous people in the province to consider running for elected office.

“We need more Mi’kmaq in the legislature. Actually, we need more Mi’kmaq in all levels of government,” Sanipass said.

“I’m right proud of what I’m doing.”

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About Maureen Googoo 270 Articles
Maureen Googoo is an award-winning journalist from Indian Brook First Nation (Sipekne'katik) in Nova Scotia. She has worked in news more than 30 years for media outlets such as CBC Radio, the Chronicle-Herald and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Maureen has an arts degree in political science from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, a journalism degree from Ryerson University in Toronto and a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.