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..this is an introduction to what first nations face today and various directions needed to move forward.
InFocus – the days ahead for National Chief Perry Bellegarde
After just one ballot Perry Bellegarde becomes National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
Our guests share their views about the election and what lies ahead.
Cheryl McKenzie is joined by Arthur Manuel, Cheryl Maloney, Russell Diabo, and Joan Jack, live from the convention centre in downtown Winnipeg.
The Future of the AFN
Wab Kinew, Wanda Nanibush and Hayden King weigh in.
AFN National Chief Bellegarde facing summer of political turmoil
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde is facing turmoil within his own office while concern grows on the outside he is beginning to exhibit the same tendencies to act unilaterally that led to his predecessor’s downfall.
Bellegarde lost three senior officials in his office this spring, including chief of staff Dale Leclair.
Three sources said Leclair left as a result of a deteriorating relationship with Bellegarde aggravated by interference from the national chief’s spouse.
Concerns grow over Bellegarde acting unilaterally
Word of trouble inside Bellegarde’s inner circle comes as concerns emerged over the AFN’s involvement in developing the mandate for the newly-christened Federal-Provincial-Territorial-Indigenous-Forum which held its inaugural meeting on June 10. The forum is a reincarnation of the provinces’ Aboriginal Affairs Working Group created under the Council of the Federation.
The AFN has been involved in developing draft terms of reference for the forum, yet, the majority of the AFN executive has had no input in developing the organization’s position.
The move has rankled some First Nation leaders because the AFN has no mandate to negotiate at this new table.
The issue of the forum’s mandate was recently placed on the AFN executive’s agenda for the first time ahead of their next meeting scheduled before the start of the next AFN general assembly which begins July 12.
Bellegarde’s perceived unilateral actions in dealing with Ottawa and the provinces is also expected to hit the floor of the AFN meeting, which will be held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Russ Diabo, a well-known AFN watcher from Kahnawake, said Bellegarde appears to be making the same mistake which led to Atleo’s resignation after he unilaterally struck a $1.9 billion deal with former prime minister Stephen Harper on the First Nation Control of First Nation Education Act.
“I think this is really dangerous and I don’t recall AFN National Chief Bellegarde getting a mandate to enter into this forum. The AFN certainly isn’t a government,” said Diabo. “These national policy issues need to be reviewed by the rights holders, not (national Aboriginal organizations).”