AFN chief Perry Bellegarde on closing the gap

Video: The head of the Assembly of First Nations speaks to Julie Smyth of Maclean's

Fred Cattroll

(Fred Cattroll, CP)

Assembly of First Nations chief Perry Bellegarde was elected to his role in December 2014 and represents more than 600 First Nations.

The politician and activist is the former Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the AFN. He was at the Broadbent Institute’s Progress Summit on a panel looking at “Canada’s relationship with Indigenous People: Can the Damage be Repaired?”

Related viewing: Roy Romanow on the failing state of Canada’s health care

He spoke to Maclean’s about where he sees opportunity to gain ground before the fall election, his discussions with all of the federal and provincial leaders during the past three months, and the shame around the disparity of wealth in the country and how to close the gap.

“If people in Canada can’t get their heads around treaty rights or inherent rights or Aboriginal rights, then just get your head around the business case,” he told us. “There’s a high social cost of that exists. So let’s put our minds and heads and hearts together to develop strategies and policies and legislation to help close the gap.”

Catch live coverage of the Progress Summit here.

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