Bellegarde elected as AFN National Chief
- EFN Staff | December 10, 2014
Perry Bellegarde says now that the election for the leadership of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is over, it is time to be united and work together.
Earlier today, Bellegarde captured more than the 60 per cent of the vote needed to be elected as the new National Chief of the AFN.
Bellegarde won on the first ballot with 63 per cent of the 464 ballots cast over the other two contenders: Ghislain Picard, who was the AFN’s interim spokesperson since Shawn Atleo resigned in May, and Leon Jourdain.
Bellegarde ran in the 2009 AFN election against Atleo that went to multiple ballots.
In his victory speech, Bellegarde called on everyone to continue their push for a national inquiry on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
"I know we spend a lot of time talking about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girl. That has to remain a focus of everyone in this room. That has to remain a focus of all levels of government."
Bellegarde says he will continue to push for an inquiry to be called.
Bellegarde also says there is "unfinished treaty business in terms of sharing land and wealth, and says First Nations will no longer accept living in poverty while industry gets wealthier.
"To Canada, we say, for far too long we have been dispossessed of our home lands and the wealth of our rightful inheritance. Canada will no longer develop...any infrastructure on our lands as business as usual. First Nations people will oppose any development that deprives our children of the legacy of or ancestors."
Bellegarde says development will only happen if First Nations people get their fair share of jobs and royalties.
"It will be done on our terms and our timeline."
The AFN Special Assembly continues tomorrow.
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