Aboriginal Law team at Gowlings congratulates Perry Bellegarde
on his election this past Tuesday as National Chief of the Assembly
of First Nations.
In his acceptance speech, National Chief Bellegarde made the
"First and foremost, I want to express my sincere gratitude
to Chiefs from across the country for the trust they have placed in
me to lead the Assembly of First Nations in its work to improve the
day-to-day lives of First Nations people, in their homes, at their
jobs and with their families. I am honoured to accept this
"As candidates we have had the opportunity to meet with
First Nations leaders and First Nations people in all parts of the
country. These discussions have reinforced the enormity of the
issues that First Nations people face and the immediacy with which
solutions are required."
"First Nations self-determination must be achieved.
Implementation of Treaty Rights and Aboriginal Title, which
includes resource revenue sharing and adherence to the duty to
consult and accommodate, are central to that. We must establish a
new fiscal relationship with the Crown. An immediate action plan
and inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is
imperative. And a committed focus on the revitalization and
retention of indigenous languages is essential."
"A strong and united AFN will be pivotal to our success in
achieving our goals and it is clear that AFN must be relevant,
responsive and respectful. While there has been much discussion
about division and differences of opinion, my travels across the
country where I met with thousands of First Nations leaders and
First Nations people, have served to remind me that on these key
issues, there is overwhelming agreement. It will be our job, as AFN
leadership, to convert that level of agreement into an action
agenda that addresses the unacceptable gap between First Nations
people and non-First Nations people in Canada. I am committed to
using my leadership experience, combined with a relentless focus,
to deliver concrete results."
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