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

Foul play not suspected in man’s death in Chemainus

Long attempt made to revive unidentified person on the dock

Hog fuel pile flares up in Chemainus

Second time in a week firemen get the call to Coast Environmental

Firefighters knock down bush fire south of Nanaimo

Heavy smoke in atmosphere is making spotting new fires difficult from the air and ground

VIDEO: Ladysmith, North Oyster crews knock down brush fire

The quick action of Ladysmith and North Oyster and firefighters from the… Continue reading

Mid-Vancouver Island air quality risk very high

Residents of the mid-Island area went to bed last night and awoke… Continue reading

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Most Read