ONE CANDIDATE IS OUT AS SECOND ROUND OF VOTING BEGINS
VANCOUVER – The first ballot results are in and there is no winner in the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) run for a new national chief but incumbent Perry Bellegarde is leading.
Incumbent Perry Bellegarde is leading with 286 votes or 53% of the vote. A winner requires 60% of the ballots cast. Coming in second was Sheila North with 106 votes or 20% and third is Mike Richardson with 87 votes or 16 percent.
Russ Diabo received 40 votes or 7% and Katherine Whitecloud pulled in 19 votes or 4% for a total of 538 ballots cast.
Katherine Whitecloud is off the ballot. Voting takes place from 2-4pm PT with four candidates running.
The AFN charter is specific the person who gains the majority of 60% wins. Anyone with 15 votes or less will be eliminated.
Chiefs from First Nations communities voted today as part of their convention in Vancouver . Five candidates are vying for the top job:
Earlier in the day AFN candidate Russell Diabo accused Minister of Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett of interference in the AFN election when she met with chiefs today. ” I don’t care if she was invited to speak. There’s chiefs in there that can vote that she’s talking to and influencing so that’s s a direct interference in our political process,” Diabo told reporters .
-Perry Bellegarde: The incumbent chief of the AFN is from the Little Black Bear First Nation in Treaty 4 territory in Saskatchewan. He says his close relationship with the federal government has secured billions of dollars in new funding for Indigenous issues over the last three budgets though he has been criticized by other candidates for being too cosy with the government.
– Russ Diabo from Kahnawake, a Mohawk community south of Montreal, is a policy analyst who says Ottawa has acted unilaterally in efforts to come up with a new Indigenous legal framework and consults only chiefs when it seeks input from Indigenous communities.
– Sheila North, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, has said she wants to lead the Assembly of First Nations to push the federal government to act on all the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
– Miles Richardson of British Columbia is the former president of the Council of the Haida Nation and headed the B.C. Treaty Commission. He has called for the Assembly of First Nations to work toward establishing sustainable economies that would ensure self-sufficiency for all Indigenous nations.
– Katherine Whitecloud, is a community leader and former grand chief of the Wipazoka Wakpa Dakota Nation in Manitoba. She also served as regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations and is calling on First Nations to assert their nationhood.