Tag Archives: Chief Perry Bellegarde

First Nations Must Be Full Partners In A New Pipeline Review Process And Rights Must Be Respected

Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

First Nations must be full partners in a new pipeline review process and rights must be respected, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde tells Senate Committee

OTTAWA, June 14, 2016 /CNW/ – First Nations must be full partners in the review, decision-making and regulation of pipelines, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and Alberta Regional Chief Craig Mackinaw today told the Senate Committee on Transport, calling for an overhaul of the National Energy Board process and the Pipeline Safety Act.

Canada needs a national energy strategy that involves Indigenous peoples at every step,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “We must make sure Indigenous peoples are involved in the design and delivery of any law or policy to find balance in federal regulation of energy resources.”

Alberta Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Mackinaw said, “Under the current system, First Nations are treated as bystanders, which is not in keeping with our inherent jurisdiction over these lands and our right to self-determination. First Nations must be full partners in the approval and regulation of pipelines, and you need us to help re-design the current broken system.”

Regional Chief Mackinaw stated that First Nations are neither always for, nor always against, development but want development to be responsible, sustainable and fully respectful of First Nations rights. “We have perspectives on all sides of the debate, just as there is nationally and globally, about where the balance lies between environmental protection and economic development. What Canada needs is a regulatory approvals process that ensures meaningful dialogue between First Nations, project proponents and the Crown.”

Under the current review process, the Regional Chief noted that First Nations are forced to undertake lengthy and costly court battles to ensure respect for First Nations rights: “Consent is already a firmly established concept in Canadian law.  The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adds that consent must be ‘free’, ‘prior’ and ‘informed’.  This shouldn’t be revolutionary. Of course, consent isn’t valid if it’s obtained by coercion. What is needed is a regulatory approvals process which ensures that First Nations can make informed decisions about development, and that the information provided by project proponents and by the Crown is relevant to the rights, interests and aspirations of First Nations.”

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-241-6789, ext. 382, 613-292-0857, agaron@afn.ca; Jenn Jefferys, AFN Communications Officer, 613-241-6789, ext. 401, jjefferys@afn.ca

http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/first-nations-must-be-full-partners-in-a-new-pipeline-review-process-and-rights-must-be-respected-afn-national-chief-perry-bellegarde-tells-senate-committee-583027711.html

Police Will Get Blamed During Missing, Murdered Inquiry: Chief

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde spoke of the difference in quality of living between Indigenous people and the rest of Canada during a speech at the Nishnawbe Aski Nation's Spring Chiefs Assembly in Timmins this week. Monday May 16, 2016. Alan S. Hale/Timmins Daily Press/Postmedia Network

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde at the Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Spring Chiefs Assembly in Timmins. May 16, 2016. Alan S. Hale/Timmins Daily Press/Postmedia Network

Winnipeg Sun,  June 01, 2016

Police across the country will bear much of the blame from an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls is released, Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde warned.

“Prepare yourselves because fingers are going to be pointed,” Bellegarde told the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs conference at the Fairmont Hotel.

“You didn’t do an adequate job. You didn’t put enough human and financial resources into the research and development, and the investigations surrounding all of these First Nations women.”

The inquiry concerns about 1,200 females across Canada.

“Be big enough to show that more work needs to be done to improve the system,” Bellegarde said in a speech promoting a better relationship between police and indigenous people. “How do you work and collaborate together? How do you share information? How do you get community members involved? How do you bring closure? How do you help them bring healing? Bottom line, it’s about working together and establishing relationships.”

Some agencies have already improved their policies, said Clive Weighill, the association’s president.

“The way we handle missing person cases, period, has changed,” said Weighill, who is also the Saskatoon Chief of Police. “The days of waiting 24 hours to report a missing person are gone … We have different ways to triage the reports now to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks.

“In Saskatoon, we have a full-time missing persons victims co-ordinator that works with the families. We have three people dedicated strictly to missing persons files to triage those files to make sure they’re getting investigated properly. We’re working closely with social services, very closely with the families. We’re involved with any awareness marches in Saskatoon and even building a memorial to the missing and murdered indigenous women right in front of our police headquarters. So, the world has changed in the last decade.”

The association has taken what Weighill says are two important steps to improving police’s work with indigenous people. No. 1: dedicated funding for on-reserve policing that can be relied upon every year.

The second piece is looking at ways to increase the safety of indigenous people living in cities.

“The federal government is not putting the money into the cities,” he said. “But the people living in cities are living in poverty, they’re living in poor housing; they need education help and the funding isn’t there.”

http://www.winnipegsun.com/2016/06/01/police-will-get-blamed-during-missing-murdered-inquiry-chief

AFN Chief Calls for Implementation of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

Red Power Media, April 22, 2016

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde Calls for Implementation of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

OTTAWA, April 21, 2016 /CNW/ – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde commented today on the Private Member’s Bill put forward by Roméo Saganash, NDP Member of Parliament for Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou (QC), C-262 – An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“The AFN welcomes this initiative as a means to move Canada forward in adopting and implementing the UN Declaration as an integral part of reconciliation,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “The Declaration confirms the rights of Indigenous peoples as human rights. Its principles provide a framework for the implementation of Aboriginal and Treaty rights in the relationship between First Nations and Canada. Giving life to the Declaration will move all of Canada forward.”

In 2015, National Chief Bellegarde wrote to all Members of Parliament urging them to support an earlier version of this Bill, which was supported in the House by all NDP and Liberals MPs. The National Chief and AFN will examine the latest version of the Bill and engage First Nations and all MPs on next steps.

AFN Quebec-Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard said: “We welcome with enthusiasm a Private Member’s Bill on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples tabled this morning by Mr. Roméo Saganash. We believe that all parties must see this next logical step as an opportunity for Canada to reconcile with its colonial past.”

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples sets out minimum standards for ensuring Indigenous peoples enjoy fundamental human rights, including the collective right to self-determination and rights in their traditional territories. The Declaration is an essential framework for reconciliation and renewing the nation-to-nation relationship as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The federal government has committed to implementing the TRC’s calls to action, starting with the implementation of the UN Declaration. The National Chief will be at the United Nations next month to attend meetings of the Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples where the UN Declaration will feature prominently in the discussions.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples can be read at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf

The Assembly of First Nation is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.

SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations

For further information: Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-241-6789, ext. 382; 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca; Jenna Young Castro AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext. 401; 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca

AFN Chief Apologizes To Anna Mae Aquash’s Daughter Over Leonard Peltier Statement

Anna Mae Pictou Aquash.

Anna Mae Pictou Aquash.

Bellegarde Apologizes To Anna Mae Aquash’s Daughter Over Statement About Leonard Peltier

According to APTN News Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said he’s sorry for the pain caused to the daughter of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash by his recent call for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to bring up the case of imprisoned American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Leonard Peltier, with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Aquash’s daughter Denise Maloney Pictou released a statement expressing outrage over Bellegarde’s statement in support of Peltier. Pictou believes Peltier protected Aquash’s killers and was involved in events that led to her death.

“Our family and community are heartsick about this,” said Pictou, in the statement. “It was our hope that a (murdered and missing Indigenous women) inquiry would mean healing and continued justice for our MMIW families, this conflict and contradiction has thrown salt back into the wounds.”

Bellegarde told CBC News last week, he’d like to see Trudeau to bring up the Peltier case during a Washington D.C. visit.

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Bellegarde said he was sorry for hurting the family and that he is planning on speaking with Pictou.

“I regret that my statement caused some hurt and pain and I apologize for the pain I caused her and her family,” said Bellegarde. “That wasn’t my intent.”

Bellegarde said he still would like to see Peltier freed. He said the case is a separate issue from AIM’s execution of Aquash.

“I called for that (Peltier’s release) because there is an injustice there,” said Bellegarde. “So I will continue to advocate for that.”

Bellegarde said two previous AFN national chiefs have made the same call which is also backed by Amnesty International and prominent individuals like the Dalai Lama.

Peltier was extradited from Canada to the U.S. in December 1976. He was eventually convicted in connection with the killing of two F.B.I. agents who were gunned down during a 1975 a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota.

Aquash’s daughter said in the statement that Peltier interrogated Aquash at gunpoint and knew who was behind her killing.

Former AIM members Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham were convicted of killing Aquash. U.S. authorities believe the two men were likely acting on orders that came from the AIM hierarchy which believed Aquash was an informant.

[Full Story]

AFN Chief Now Says He’ll Vote In Federal Election

Assembly of First Nations national Chief Perry Bellegarde holds a news conference in Ottawa on Monday, June 1, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Sean Kilpatrick)

Assembly of First Nations national Chief Perry Bellegarde holds a news conference in Ottawa on Monday, June 1, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Sean Kilpatrick)

CTV News

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde has backtracked on his intentions to abstain from voting in the upcoming election, after an outpouring of pleas to do so.

Bellegarde tweeted Wednesday morning that he will vote for a government committed to closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and other Canadians, one week after saying he would not vote do so, in an effort to remain non-partisan.

Bellegarde further explained his position in an official statement Wednesday. While he emphasized his belief in the importance of remaining non-partisan as a First Nations leader, he acknowledged the concerns expressed by First Nations people across Canada.

“The message to me is consistent and clear: ‘It is vital that First Nations voices be heard in every way possible, including through the ballot box. You need to be an example. You need to vote,’” Bellegarde said in the statement. “I have reassessed my longstanding practice and will vote on October 19th to reinforce my message that First Nations priorities must be Canada’s priorities and that we must close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations people and Canadians”

Bellegarde told CTV’s Power Play last week that he will not be voting in the upcoming federal election, despite his organization’s national campaign calling on First Nations, a population known to have a low voter turnout, to do so. He admitted that his decision could contradict his messaging.

“It could (contradict it) but I’m going to be encouraging people to get out to vote because, as an elected leader, we have to maintain that non-partisanship,” Bellegarde said then. “The only card I carry is a status card.”

The AFN is a non-partisan organization.

Elections Canada estimates the average voter turnout for eligible voters on First Nations reserves is 44 per cent. The AFN is trying to change that.

The organization has identified 51 ridings where the aboriginal vote could influence the election outcome on Oct. 19, and the group is also working with Elections Canada to help First Nations access voting tools.

“Our young people want change,” said Bellegarde at the time. So there seems to be a greater awareness and growing interest amongst them that we can have impact.”

Bellegarde outlined the AFN’s federal election priorities last week, selling the plan as an economic benefit for all Canadians while “closing the gap.” He has repeatedly highlighted the fact that while Canada ranks between 6th and 8th on the United Nations Human Development Index, if the same indices are applied to First Nations people, the ranking falls anywhere between 63rd and 78th.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/afn-chief-now-says-he-ll-vote-in-federal-election-1.2554564