Chief Bellegarde will ensure that the AFN reconnects with First Nations in accordance with the following priorities:
• Establishing processes for self-determination which include revenue sharing, ensuring environmental sustainability, adherence to the duty to consult and accommodate and international standards such as free, prior and informed consent;
• Establishing a new fiscal relationship with the federal Crown;
• An immediate action plan and inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; and
• Committed focus on the revitalization and retention of indigenous languages.
• Upholding indigenous rights as human rights in international forums
This process starts with re-engaging First Nations leaders across Canada by communicating constantly and effectively. As FSIN Chief, he does this now, communicating with Chiefs and First Nations people in Saskatchewan day in and day out. Chief Bellegarde connects with First Nations leaders and people across Canada as an AFN Regional Chief. As National Chief he will reach out to all First Nations across Canada.
Chief Bellegarde will expand AFN’s political influence.
Already influential with provincial and federal government leaders as well as non-governmental organizations, Chief Bellegarde will use that sphere of influence to achieve concrete political results that make a real difference to First Nations people. Strong working relationships with the federal and provincial governments must be based on underlying respect for First Nations inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights as well as interests. Chief Bellegarde has successfully built the political relationships that were converted into concrete results in Saskatchewan. He will do the same nationally.
Chief Bellegarde will build on recent court cases to ensure First Nations interests are entrenched.
The recent Tsilhqot’in (William Case) Supreme Court decision will be levered as one of several means by which to enshrine the meaning and intent of Aboriginal title. It will pave the way to a new relationship between First Nations and the Government of Canada and reinforce the need for provincial and federal governments to consult and accommodate, resulting in the entrenchment of a pivotal role of First Nations in resource development. Self-determination means that First Nations have the right to say ‘yes’ and the right to say ‘no’ to resource development.
Chief Bellegarde will focus his attention on the implementation of inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.
Recent high profile Supreme Court decisions and other events have created an unprecedented opportunity to elevate public awareness of inherent and treaty rights. It also means that AFN success in communicating these issues has never been this important. For that reason, Inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights will be a key focus of Chief Bellegarde’s political strategy after the December 2014 AFN election.
“Converting opportunities into tangible results has always been my focus. Creating the right results requires leadership experience, unwavering commitment and relentless focus. I am asking for the opportunity to deliver on a pledge of concrete results.”
- Chief Perry Bellegarde