Chief Perry Bellegarde urges First Nations to vote - Macleans.ca

Chief Perry Bellegarde urges First Nations to vote

Bellegarde says First Nations voters need to make a point of making themselves heard

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Perry Bellegarde in conversation with Maclean’s

MONTREAL — National Chief Perry Bellegarde wants First Nations and other Canadians alike to get involved in the federal election campaign and push for reconciliation.

In his Montreal address to the Assembly of First Nations annual meeting, Bellegarde says First Nations voters need to make a point of making themselves heard in polling booths across the country.

The time is right, he says, because the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recent report has captured the attention of Canadians with its description of the residential school legacy as “cultural genocide.”

This is Bellegarde’s first annual meeting as national chief.

He is also calling on the government to respect traditional territories and honour its legal duty to accommodate First Nations people.

Opposition leaders are set to address the AFN meeting this afternoon, but federal Minister Bernard Valcourt will not be there.

More later.