Perry Bellegarde re-elected as chief of Assembly of First Nations

Bellegarde won 328 of the 522 votes in a second ballot

Perry Bellegarde has reclaimed his seat as national chief for the Assembly of First Nations, in an election that also saw his challengers accuse the federal government of interference.

Bellegarde won 328 of the 522 votes in a second ballot, giving him just over the 60 per cent needed to be elected as leader for a second term.

Bellegarde, who is from the Little Black Bear First Nation in Treaty 4 territory in Saskatchewan, has said his close relationship with the federal government has secured billions of dollars in new funding for Indigenous issues over the last three budgets. He has been criticized by other candidates for being too cosy with Ottawa.

In his acceptance speech, Bellegarde said Indigenous communities from “coast to coast to coast” are united by the drum. He said he’s heard a call from people across the country who want answers to common questions that he will attempt to address as chief.

“How do we now as Indigenous peoples, First Nations peoples, move beyond these two things that have created havoc in our lives? How do we move beyond the genocide of the residential system now? How do we move beyond that? And how do we move beyond the colonization of the Indian Act and exert ourselves as nations?” Bellegarde said.

Sheila North of Manitoba won 125 votes, Miles Richardson of B.C. won 59 votes and Russ Diabo of Quebec won 10 votes.

Katherine Whitecloud of Manitoba was eliminated in the first round of voting for having the fewest number of votes.

The vote in Vancouver sparked some controversy, as all four of Bellegarde’s challengers claimed election interference by the federal government because Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett was at the convention during the vote.

“Our four candidates are standing together to make sure at least the integrity of our decision(-making) political process is protected and honoured amongst our people. We do not condone the interference of the federal government, and anyone who does should be accountable to this assembly,” Richardson said.

North said Bennett’s presence represented a “disgusting display of interference” and a direct attack by the Liberal government on the assembly, while Diabo called for the minister to be sanctioned.

“This is what we’re talking about, running our own affairs. We don’t need the federal government to interfere in our elections,” she said.

Both North and Richardson said they accepted the election results in their concession speeches, while Diabo said there would be consequences — a statement that was met with boos from the audience.

Just Posted

Tyler Dozzi breaks national record, ‘running like a madman’

Terrace runner sets new time in Boston in his last U20 race

Most intervenor requests in crucial natural gas pipeline case rejected

At stake is whether gas pipeline to LNG Canada plant should fall under federal jurisdiction

VIDEO: RCMP stop traffic with candy canes to remind drivers not to drink and drive

Police want to prevent any bad choices from being made this holiday season

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

Two projects to tackle Haisla housing shortage

B.C. government plans to build more than 280 homes across nine communities in the north

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter show heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

UK Prime Minister Theresa May wins party no-confidence vote, but troubles remain

May won the vote of 317 Conservative legislators with a 200-117 tally

B.C. trustee’s anti-LGBTQ comments got him barred from schools

Barry Neufeld calls vote to leave him off liaison list ‘workplace discrimination’

Firm says trees obstructing vision at Humboldt Broncos crash intersection

Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured in the collision at an intersection north of Tisdale

Man charged after B.C house fire triggers high-grade explosives

Thomas Daniel Kendall charged with causing bodily harm by failing to properly store explosives

Most Read