Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tory Aboriginal Caucus

I've been reading abot this Tory Aboriginal Caucus and their "outreach" to recruit Aboriginal members. The story in the Globe and Mail, "Tories Reach out to aboriginals with caucus" credits Immigration Minister Jason Kenny for the out reach to "youth and Aboriginals"....

Just what the heck do Aboriginal people (NOT Aboriginals!)have to do with immigration?

"The outreach to youth and aboriginals can be linked to the political work of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who keeps a frantic pace crossing the country meeting with ethnic media and cultural groups."


Monday, July 27, 2009

Canada's aboriginals have a chance to switch direction

Holy cow! I came across this article by this clown Joseph Quesnel and just had to share it. In just one article he calls us “aboriginals, Indians, First Nations, and indigenous peoples” Is it any freakin wonder so many of us have identity issues? I’d ask for accuracy and consistency but it’s about “Indians and Aboriginals” so who cares...right? Well Mr. Quesnel, you might aspire to be relevant and fool the uneducated but until you earn the respect of the larger community you’ll only ever be a hack.

Ok let’s talk about the labels. I know the dominant society likes things in nice little easy to swallow pills and pretty little packages but sometimes you can't force round pegs into square holes. And you do yourself no favours if you call yourself policy analyst and a freelance writer and not do your research. No wonder Mr. Quesnel is a freelance writer submitting opinion pieces. Hint to Mr. Quesnel – originality, factuality, and relevancy count in journalism but apperantly you can get away with just about anything in an opinion piece....almost like a blogger.

These are my definitions, perfectionists can look use their own source.

Indigenous people: any group of people from a geographic region with very historical and cultural ties to that land.

Aboriginal people: The legal term used in Canada to describe First Nation, Métis, and Inuit.

Indian: The legal term Canada calls us. (I.e. the department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada)

First Nations: A “politer” label given to Nations that existed prior to the arrival of Europeans and/or others better known as Ojibway, Algonquin, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Cree, etc...

Inuit: Peoples who inhabit the northern regions of this land and did so prior to the arrival of Europeans.

Métis: I personally and technically believe these people are the first peoples of Canada as they are the reflection of what harmony and cooperation could be. But there is the Powley decision to go by too.

All First Nation’s, Inuit, and Métis can fit under the umbrella term of Aboriginal people but only when you make reference to all three groups. An Inuk is not an aboriginal. Persons who are citizens of a First Nation are not Aboriginals. Métis people are not aboriginals either. An aboriginal is not a people it has no language, no culture, no body, no nothing – it’s a political and legal terminology used to describe the three legally recognized groups in Canada period.

So right away I look at Mr. Quesnel title and I know – he hasn’t got a clue but it looks like he is after his 15 minutes of fame. No doubt he woke up and said “Hey I know how to get published...I’ll pick on the Chiefs and say they are unaccountable and then say stuff like the AFN is the problem and needs to listen to words of wisdom and conform!” Everyone likes an article like that. I won’t even have to research it. The easiest fifty-bucks I’ll make all week. OK – so you are a free-lancer and you’re hungry but honestly?

Mr Quesnel lists five helpful hints for us Indians, Aboriginals, Indigenous peoples and First Nations (but remember in reality this has nothing to do with Métis or Inuit cause...well they don’t have Chiefs or live on reserves and never have. So where the mystical “aboriginals” come from I don’t know and I know it has absolutely NOTHING to do with indigenous people outside the geography of Canada but I digress....)These hints aim to fix our live and make everything rosy (so simple – only five! Frig...if only we’d known this before!) but before I do I want to comment on his opening paragraph where he accused the AFN of killing or watering down legislation as if it was a bad thing.

The Governance Act was a sham and even the Native Women’s Association of Canada asked that the Bill be revisited and changes made. In both cases government said they consulted but ignored the voices of the majority and chose only to present what they thought appropriate. Not what the people (the women and their children) who the Bill would most impact requested but what was easiest and quickest for policy makers to write up. Those same policy writers also provided advise that when it the Bill will be protested (and yes they knew NOBODY liked it) a red herrings accusing the Chiefs of denying rights to women could be thrown out for public consumption. How friggen cheap and easy is that?

Same thing happened with the consultations on the Governance Initiative of Minister Nault. Nobody opposes good governance but good governance is not designed but twenty- something’s with university degrees in Arts that have been spoon fed by their parents all their lives. And believe it or not – that’s whose writing most of our policy. Geezuzz Murphy....

Ok so let’s review look at his helpful hints shall we?

1) Deal honestly with accountability issues. It is insane to ignore the voices of the people at the bottom who witness a lack of accountability and transparency in "Indian country."

One candidate for national chief, on his campaign website, said that, "First Nations leadership has been challenged by unfounded assertions of lack of accountability and integrity."

Unfounded? A simple look at complaints filed every year with Indian Affairs is evidence of how this campaign statement ignores the problem. With colleagues, I conduct an annual Aboriginal Governance Index, an on-the-ground survey of indigenous people in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta on governance issues. We found close to half of respondents reported that favours and payments were exchanged for votes.
Also, about 74 per cent of respondents said members of the chief's family disproportionately receive jobs in the community. About 30 per cent were aware of people removed from the community for political reasons through a band council resolution. Another finding from our survey was that 62 per cent of respondents said they "do not really" or "never" receive access to the band's business plan or financial statements.

In November of 2004 the AFN released a report “Federal Government Funding to First Nations: The Facts, The Myths and the Way Forward “. The report draws on research and analysis and the work of Canada’s Auditor-General, Harvard University and other expert sources...real experts!

Here are some interesting REAL facts that I copied from the report to counter JQ’s simple but digestible meal ticket.

• The average Canadian gets services from the federal, provincial and municipal governments at an amount that is almost two-and-a-half times greater than that received by First Nations citizens.
• Out of 557 financial management audits filed by First Nations in 2002-2003, the Department of Indian Affairs found only 16 (3%) that required remedial action.
• In 2001, the federal government estimated that its “contingent liabilities” – the debt it owes to First Nations through lawful obligations stemming from land claims, Treaties and litigation – was almost $11 Billion dollars. This debt would wipe out the current federal budget surplus of $9.1 Billion. After 2001, the government stopped reporting on its contingent liabilities.
• In 1996, the federal government capped funding increases for Indian Affairs’ core programs at 2% a year, which does not keep pace with inflation or the growing First Nations population. A recent Indian Affairs study found that the gap in “quality of life” between First Nations and Canadians stopped narrowing…in 1996.

National Chief Fontaine stated: “If the government and Canadian citizens are serious about working with us to close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canadians then we need to identify the real problems to ensure we’re arriving at the right solutions. Our report clears away the fog of myth and misunderstanding and illuminates a path forward that will benefit First Nations, the Government of Canada and all Canadians. I hope all Canadians who are interested in the political, social and economic life of this country will read this report.”

2) Highlight progressive models for First Nations. There are plenty of good stories happening in Indian country and plenty of First Nation bands do the right thing. These stories need to be told. The AFN has the resources to get the word out.
The 2003 Harvard Project on Native American Economic Development highlighted the components of what defined good indigenous government, such as policies separating politics from business decisions. First Nations like Siksika Nation near Calgary already do that. Also, tough-love proponents like B.C. chief Clarence Louie and indigenous author Calvin Helin should be promoted by the AFN as models for avoiding the government dependency trap.

Actually I kinda have a girl crush on Chief Clarence Louie and have had one for a long time. But let’s remember Chief Louie has one set of conditions to work within his province of BC and all the power to him for his successes. And let’s be real – just because something works in the Okanagan Valley of BC doesn’t mean in will work in Fort Severn, Ontario. Not all communities have the same resources or capacities ....Besides I honestly thought we had moved past the rhetoric of cookie cutter solutions. (Another example of bad policy – one size fits all – cheap and quick but usually doesn’t work well or last long.) I like the way Chief Louie thinks but that’s only one way – there are lots of good ways and many successes in our communities to prove it.

Calvin is just upset he’s not the millionaire he thinks he should be. He wrote a book and called it “Dancing with Dependency” (has a nice...”aboriginal” sound to the title eh?) and made sure Joe Canadian would see it was about dependency – the public will love it – regurgitate old info and strategies like they were knew and maybe he’ll even get a few speaking engagements. Good for Calvin and his self-published book, he’s a true entrepreneur with enough failures behind him to prove it. If he keeps it up he’ll have his huge debts paid off in no time flat – and he used the “Indian Dependency” problem to do it. Thank god for the market eh Calvin? But that’s business.

3) Recognize the central role of private property in promoting indigenous prosperity. The Berlin Wall fell 20 years ago and command economies have been discredited. First Nations need realistic solutions, not pie-in-the-sky idealism about communal living. The AFN is uniquely positioned to promote private property rights within First Nations, which would allow First Nations members to secure loans and build businesses, moving toward self-reliance.
The Nisga'a of British Columbia are trailblazers in their current proposal to provide transferable residential property for citizens. Indigenous people must work with the private sector. Preventing development on traditional territories traps communities in poverty.

What the f.....? JQ states that the AFN is in a unique position to promote private property rights? Sounds like JQ would like to co-opt the AFN for his own personal use. The AFN is not a government – it advocates and responds to the interests of the Nations through the Chiefs. I know a lot of developers and would be cottage owners would love to get their hands on more “Indian land” but it ain’t gunna happen so put your wallet back in your pocket and quit your salivating. Let’s honour the Treaties first and live up to the original agreements.....then we’ll talk about self-reliance.

4) Lead by example and reform the AFN. Indians need to have confidence in the Assembly of First Nations, given it claims to represent them. In 2005, the AFN's Renewal Commission released a report calling for drastic reforms, including one-member, one-vote elections for national chief.

Oh crap...reform the AFN. That’s new!!! WOW. You’re so smart JQ! Over time every good incorporated institution should take out and revisit their Constitution and should update their by-laws to reflect growth or upgrades if you will. But why one member one vote? People don’t even get to vote for the Prime Minister. And how and why should the AFN be accountable to ALL the citizens of each and every First Nation. It’s the Federal Government who funds the bands.....not the AFN.
What would that change to the authorities of the AFN would they become...a government – with legislative authority that will govern over ALL the Nations? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA (can you see the Mohawks agreeing to that one?)
And just HOW will this fantasy be paid – who will pay for it? If you balk at funding the AFN to do its existing advocacy work and you agree that poverty is rampant in our communities – then I would be very interested in how much you think this will cost and how you would raise the funds to pay for this ideology ? Sure it’s an option but not a very well thought out one.

JQ: 5) Stop playing politics and instead oppose oppression. Time and again, the Assembly of First Nations stalled major initiatives that would have improved the lives of indigenous peoples: Axing the First Nation Governance Act in 2003 allowed electoral fraud and corruption in band elections to continue; the AFN's call for a three-year period before human-rights legislation can be mandated for reserve governments (and to insist on a collective rights clause) exposed indigenous people to further oppression; recent calls to pull legislation that grants equal matrimonial property for First Nation women could leave women more vulnerable.
In short, the AFN and its new leader must stop using self-government rhetoric every time the government proposes ways to improve life on reserves.

Ok beyond being just to stupid “Stop playing politics and instead oppose oppression” The AFN is a political organization nobody argues do you oppose oppression without political pressure. OH frig right assimilate. I forgot.

Joseph Quesnel is a policy analyst with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and co-author of Rewarding Good Governance on Reserves.

See.....bad policy writers EVERYWHERE! I bet he is a young dude with a university background. I’ll bet he met Chief Louie and Calvin was swayed by their gold watches and fast talk and decided right there and then – he was gunna be just like them, promote them, and then maybe they’ll say hi at the next “Indian conference” where they can sell their wares in the name of progress.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Post responding to Dirk Buchholz's most excellent observations

A gentleman going by the name of Dirk Buchholz left a very good comment under our post "Shawn Atleo new National Chief." He asks: "Can any real progress really be expected when AFN is funded and wholly accountable to the settler government rather than to indigenous peoples, the very peoples it claims to represent?" and more. These are smart questions worthy of more attention than he would get if this was left under comments, and some intelligent debate. So I have reprinted his comment below as a post. (For Bad-Anon who likes to troll here, plz note I said "intelligent".) Dirk's comment reprinted below. I have weighed in, my thoughts and opinions follow.

Dirk Buchholz said:
I was wondering if you could explain to me what the actual role of AFN is and how it can claim to represent indigenous peoples. Does not the very existence of AFN lend a kind of legitimacy to the Indian Act? Can any real progress really be expected when AFN is funded and wholly accountable to the settler government rather than to indigenous peoples, the very peoples it claims to represent? Is not government funding of F.N org's just another tool of assimilation, i.e the acceptance of gov funding tends to subvert, de-radicalize grassroots activism ?

I am a bit of a history buff, so I think the issue of government funding for national First Nations organizations needs to be looked at first.


It was a real struggle to organize a national organization during the early part of the 1900s. This was the period where oppression of First Nations people really began. The new Canadian government as well as First Nations had looked to what was happened south of the border and neither wanted to pursue wars to deal with the land issue. On the part of the Canadian government, they could see that the US had spent more money fighting Indian wars in 6 months that they had in their entire coiffeurs. First Nations saw the weapons that were being brought in and had lost their advantage in numbers, first due to death by disease, then after the early 1900s to waves of immigration under the effective recruitment campaigns of Minister Clifford Sifton after 1902. First Nations never felt they got enough in the treaties (certainly the land bases in the US are much more generous) and Canada felt they had given too much - housing, the medicine chest, and other items that are still debated today. It's important to note that not all First Nations signed treaties which led to early land claims in Ontario Quebec and BC. These would be put on temporarily on hold for 40 years or so due to oppressive new clauses of the Indian Act.

Between 1900 and 1950 some of the most oppressive measures were passed under the Indian Act. These included: making it illegal for Indians in the west to leave the reserve without a pass issued by their Indian agent; making it illegal for Indians to gather for political purposes, it was illegal for lawyers to represent First Nations on land claims, Indian farmers could not sell their goods with out express permission from an Indian agent (this was passed to stop Indian competing with white farmers who were being recruited to settle the west, and resulted in ruining several good reserve economies) ; residential schools, bans on traditional dances and spiritual practices, and a host of others. Apart from the political obstacles, there were language barriers, a lack of communications infrastructure like telephones, and Indian Affairs refused to provide mailing addresses from one community to another.

In the same period you had a number of First Nations going off to fight in WW1 and WW2. Many came back saying they had been treated as equals while in the war and found it unacceptable that they returned to be treated as wards of the state. Many of these veterans led early movements to forge a national movement. They had support from other veterans and some Christian faith groups (which is very interesting considering what was happening in residential schools in the same period). First Nations leaders broke the law and attended political gatherings. The RCMP arrested a number. Some polic it should be noted were very reluctant to do so, as many felt this was an oppression of human rights, law or not.

Frederick Oliver Loft of Six Nations a WW1 veteran was key in uniting Ontario and Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Regional leaders like John Tootoosis appeared. Loft was able to garner much public sympathy and was a constant thorn in the government's side. Loft was forced to absent himself from the political movement for a number of years when his wife fell ill. When he returned, the recession had hit and he could not raise monies to take Canada to court over land claims, which was his goal. The Canadian government intercepted letters outlining his plans to do so. As this was illegal they threatened him with prison. Loft was in his 70s by this time and backed down.

Jules Sioui, a Huron appeared as the next leader. He was radical, outspoken and considered by many in at Indian Affairs to be politically dangerous. In the early 1940s he organized a political meeting in Ottawa. At the same time Fred Kelly and Andy Paull had united BC, while some infrastructure on the prairies remained from Loft's earlier movement. A number of these leaders met in Ottawa. Apparently it was quite the scene with multiple translators posted around the room. Up until this point all movements had been funding by First Nations people in communities.

Andy Paull eventually took over the national movement. The government decided to meet with them and address some grievances which resulted in the relaxation of some of the harsher rules under the Indian Act in 1951.

After this the federal government organized a series of yearly consultations with representatives from each region. It was here that Andy Paul first suggested that the leaders receive pay form the government for their work. The government refused saying that if leaders were paid by government they would probably no longer be trusted by their people. The government did pick up the tab for travel for the meetings.

As First Nations leaders were getting together regularly but not making much progress on promoting changes after 1951, they took advantage of the meetings to discuss forming a new political organization. The first was the Native Council of Canada. This dissipated because it was essentially a body of leaders meeting with no popular support. Despite some good efforts, communications infrastructure was not good and the majority of grassroots folks and local leaders had no idea they existed. There was also some squabbling between on-reserve and off reserve. In 1968, the federal government offered some small core funding for a First Nations organization, but said they would only fund Status Indians as they were not constitutionally responsible for non-status and Métis. This led to a split that formed the National Indian Brotherhood (Later the AFN) for status Indians, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), and later, in the 1980s when the constitution was being patriated a split between CAP and a newly formed Métis National Council (MNC). Today all of these groups are funded by the government. It's worth noting that what prevented the NIB/AFN from becoming another head without a body was the 1969 white paper. The White paper backfired so badly on government that a rush of government, academic and other researchers moved in to study First Nations, and the government upped funding to these groups. It improved communications and allowed a stable political infrastructure to grow for the first time.

The questions, and some initial thoughts/opinions

Q: I was wondering if you could explain to me what the actual role of AFN is and how it can claim to represent indigenous peoples.

Opinion: AFN represents only First Nations - not Métis or Inuit. It is supposed to represent all First Nations but is very weak on representing off-reserve, non-status and some would argue women although they have improved on this last point over the last ten years. The National Chief and the AFN office get constant input from chiefs through assemblies, chiefs committees on various topics. When it works well, the chiefs raise an issue through a resolution. The AFN then does all the research and legal work on the issue to try and find a solution. This is developed into a business case and reported back to chiefs. If there is agreement the AFN moves forward working with government on the option supported by chiefs through presenting the business case to government.

However multiple things can go wrong in this process. Chiefs may not agree - take for example the Kelowna accord. Chiefs in Quebec did not support it. Or the federal government may not share the same priorities or may just be - as the current government is - difficult to deal with.

Q: Can any real progress really be expected when AFN is funded and wholly accountable to the settler government rather than to indigenous peoples, the very peoples it claims to represent?

Opinion: Well the AFN is definitely accountable to chiefs. They hear about it when they are perceived as being too close to government, it causes splits and chief threaten to pull out from the AFN. The Mohawks did so during the Kelowna debates and I am not sure if they have participated since, although they were sending observers to meetings for a while.

Certainly some progress was made on residential schools. This seems to have been made by not only presenting a solid business case showing that it was cheaper to solve the problem rather than to let it fester in the courts (especially when the government looked like it would lose and wind up paying more anyway in addition to legal fees.) This appears to have been done by uniting with numerous other lobby groups to force the government's hand.

However, it must always be on the minds of leaders that funding can get cut at anytime. I think this is why you have such a PR war over accountability, lately. IF the feds can paint the AFN as a backwards old boys club standing in the way of progress while sucking funds off the public into a black hole, then they will have support for cutting it off. I do believe the AFN is in more than 1 million dollars debt this year - that was reported on their books at the AGA. Why they are in such debt was not explained as the meeting was cut short. Whether it was because - as former National Chief Phil Fontaine hinted in his goodbye speech - that the feds are cutting funds to impede the work the AFN is doing, or whether it is because they have been irresponsible with money, is uncertain. However if it was entirely the latter I expect we'd see the feds denouncing hate AFN publicly. A closer look at the books is needed. They should be up on the AFN website somewhere and I'll post a link if I can find it.

So would the AFN be better off funded by FN? I think so. There seems to be money to do so. The large sum of moula donated by AMC to the Canadian Human Rights Museum may have been better spent shoring up a more independent AFN, in my opinion.

Q: Is not government funding of F.N org's just another tool of assimilation, i.e the acceptance of gov funding tends to subvert, de-radicalize grassroots activism ?

Opinion: Yes. I think so. I think it is definitely an attempt to co-op. I think the worst example of what can happen was displayed by the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) over the last few years where their leader just aped everything the conservatives said. It got some dollars for the organization – for example their Powley and governance research, but ultimately their leader benefited the most by securing a Senate appointment. While something this dissapointing has not yet happened at the AFN, it could, although I imagine chiefs would just pull out and stop supporting the AFN if it did. It is more likley that government would just cut funding as it did in 2002 when the AFN refused to support the First Nations Government Act, the First Nations Statistical Management Act, and an early version of the Specific Claims Act.

I really hope that Wideye weighs in because she knows a lot more about the AFN than I do, having followed Indian politics longer. I would love to hear what she thinks. I think it’s fair to say we often disagree but I always respect her opinions, they are very insightful. I also know we got more than 2000 hits a day while elections were going on. I hope some of those folks will weigh in as well. Certainly this has been a hot topic of debate in Indian country for years.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Shawn Atleo new National Chief

So....I had to run out on some real life errands (damn)And while gone we learn that Shawn beat out Perry (again) and finally...finally Perry conceded defeat and we have a new National Chief. Congratulations National Chief Atleo, well done team. I knew it could be done. Just took a little longer than I originally thought.

Later addition:

Sorry, back from more real life work-stuff. Not that what happened in Calgary wasn't real but for me....this other "real" stuff pays the bills.

I also want to congratulate Perry Bellgard and his team. Endurance is everything his team worked hard and stood by him. I know he and many of the people that helped keep Perry nipping at Atleo's heels will be a huge asset to the AFN family. The numbers I think, indicate that the Chiefs also believe both would be an asset to advance economic participation and reduce poverty numbers.

I look forward to hear how the two, Atleo and Bellegarde do come together. If the elections are any indicator, they'd make a formidable team.


Perry gone to far? after I posted I got a note that when the electoral officer made the announcement there were boos in the audience. Because there is no more electronic ballots the manual system must be used and that takes longer to count. In my opinion the boos mean that the Chiefs just told Perry - you must know when to quit and you've gone to far. I think he just lost. But I'm just a blogger so can guess whatever I like.

I think there would have been far greater respect if he had conceded or worked an agreement out with Atleo...they are so close in numbers. A lesson had to be learned here and Perry has not matured enough to see it.


Waiting for the eigth.....

The sweet aroma of smudging has filled the hall where everyone is gathered. No doubt praying for an answer. I think that's wierd by the way....I mean no doubt they are both speaking to the same Creator....unless in fact they are speaking to their ancestors....maybe there is a big battle going on in the spirit world between their ancestors?

Naaaaaaa I'm sure they don't care that much. Probably tell them to go and sort this out between themselves and come back when they've figured it out. I mean isn't that what your mom said to you when you got into a tug of war over ownership of one the "share" toys?

Ok..the official announcement. It would seem as though many people expected Perry to withdraw but instead it was announced that the candidates met and they will go to the eighth. Jumpin Crazy Lizards.....why?


Eighth Ballot or what?

Well...One of my gem stones on the floor watched Perry consult with his team...they asked if he would concede and he was adamant NO! He must be hoping to wake more Chiefs up....or bribe more with better coffee? So...we are in for an eighth ballot - but that's Perry for you. But is this a good quality, and what about Atleo?....tenacious or just a bulldog with a strong jaw and not much else...all I know is something must give.

Perry just announced he would not concede but would let the Chiefs decide. How noble.


word on the floor from seventh ballot

Lots of noise and it appears the Chiefs in the hall are demanding a resolution of some kind...People have started to yell "speech" from the crowd. Tempers must be strained after a night of negotiations, strategies, and no doubt some begging to the Creator for strength to stay awake! The electoral officer asked the floor if there was consensus but there were shouts of NO!....But wait....cheering from one corner of the room....stand by.....


Seventh Ballot results

Ok so I am back from the dog walk (actually a people walk but he humours me)coffee cup has replaced the wine glass and we are off to the races....

The candidates just entred the room lots of cheering for Atleo while Bellegardes smile appears forced. (Good to know how they look after no sleep eh?)

Electoral officer takes the stage and the results are:

Atleo 259 or 53.5
Bellegarde 225 or 46.5

Votes cast: 484
# required to make 60%: 291


while we wait...more

I must go walk my dog or he will hate me but I promise to update when I get back!


6th Ballot!!

Yes I fell asleep but it looks like nobody else did in Calgary. They are in the sixth ballot and the crowds have entered back into the main room....Shawn's crowd is loud....but no telling what that means...jacked up on caffeine maybe? Despite the all night tension and tied ballots I hear fun can be had! There was a rounding rendition of Dayo, the crowd performed the 'wave' and I heard a coffee scalper got $10 for her java! AND...the security guards protested the long hours and left. (obviously they don't know you're supposed to use a barricade in a protest and not leave! Geeesh!)

But can you believe you believe a tie in the fifth would take them to the SIXTH ballot. I honestly don't remember when that happened before...trying to find out if it has.

498 ballots cast 0 destroyed

Atleo 256
Bellegarde 242

Voted needed for 60% is 299

Now we wait to seat if Bellegarde is a gentleman and withdraws of forces a seventh ballot...I say he withdraws...bu this is Perry and nothing polite about him or politics.


So in between ballot commentary

There was a brief meeting between Perry and Shawn behind closed doors. Both men emerged smiling and determined. They were expected to make a deal that the winner would take all on the next ballot, but upon emerging they swore no deal was made. If there is a deal they are keeping it close to their chest. The AFN executive met trying to figure out what to do if the vote keeps going without result, but no solution seems possible. They are tied to the AFN charter and thier lawyers can find no resolution.

We await ballot number 6. ....12 more minutes.

The coffee shop downstairs stayed open all night. Nevertheless I've seen 2 or 3 chiefs konked out on couches and chairs around the centre. It's anyone's guess.


Fifth ballot at AFN election for National chief

It is now 2:49 am.
A bunch of chiefs went home which should surely change the results.... or so you would think.

total votes 508
1 spoiled ballot
Sean Atleo = 254
Perry Bellegard = 254

reminder 60 per cent is needed to win.


fourth ballot

OK so wideye has gone to bed. Here it is.
Total votes 532 - this means one more chief voted than last time.

The chief likely went to Perry as he now has 267 and is up two votes from the last ballot.

Sean appears to have lost one chief to Perry, as he now has 264 and is down one vote from last time.

There will be a fifth ballot.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And the third ballot winner is....

531 votes cast.....Shawn 266 or 50.9 % Perry 265...49.9% But wait a weird development. Someone just wrote me that Perry took it? Stay tuned.


Another hour!

So like - I'm not sure I will be able to stay awake - I think the candidates are having a hard time too...lets hope they wrap this up and call it a day. The next announcement is due in at 11:00 pm EST the ballots have just closed (10:00 pm EST)...I say Atleo will have a slim lead but without the 60% required so Bellegarde will need to be the big man and concede the game - but will he do it? Or will the question be mute if Bellegarde squeeks by and it's Atloe who will have to concede? Hmmmmmmmm

Darn am I ever tired!


Atleo in the fourth?

Well well....looks like they will announce early...or at least soon. So stand by...





Shawn Atleo 276 to Perry Bellegarde 274. Five hundred-forty-eight ballots cast none rejected. Another ballot.................wish I was there! Perry picked up 112 votes to Atleo's 38! Atleo hanging on to his lead but by fingernails. Can Perry's team capitalize on Atleo's apparent lethargy?


Wait some more.....

So results for second ballot will be in at 7:00 pm EST....better hope there is a clear winner if you are following this blog cause that’s my bedtime. After that, if I am awake expect wine to influence the writing.

So I hear that Atleo’s team is looking tired – if that’s the case they should quit the race now! It’s SECOND BALLOT! Maybe Bellgard is the better person – a person at the helm of AFN would require stamina yes?

I’ve heard the Nation’s of the West Coast abhor confrontation but that’s a misnomer....if Atleo caves from exhaustion or pressure it’s more likely because he hasn’t got a strategy. And that’s just sad.


First Ballot discussion

First Ballot Discussion
Beaucage pulled out and is supporting Bellgard! (desperate pitch!)


First Ballot Results

The AFN Webcast appears to be down
Results are:

And the results are:

Terry Nelson 57 or 10%
Bill Wilson 11 or 1%
John Beaucage 84 or 15%
Perry Bellgard 162 or 29%
Shawn Atleo 238 or 43%

Total Ballots cast: 552 with 1 rejection. Total number required to achieve 60% is 332


While we wait.....

Well, first ballot will be announced in 15 minutes 1:00 Calgary time. I’m excited....
I read an article over at the G&M, “Race to replace AFN Chief far from over”, by Katherine O’Neill that misrepresented the number of elected chiefs from BC at the AFN AGM. She writes “ Mr. Atleo could also be helped out by the contest's voting system, since 202 of the 639 chiefs allowed to cast ballots for the new leader hail from British Columbia. The province with the next largest block of voters is Ontario, with 134 eligible chiefs”. I credit Ms O’Neill for at least looking at the INAC web site for numbers....but 202 represents the number of reserves....there are only eighty-some elected Chiefs in BC. It just happens that each First Nation community may have several allotments of reserve lands totally separate from each other. (some on sides of cliffs so uninhabitable even goats have a hard time clinging to the slopes!) When the early government placed the First Nations on their assigned lands....(so much sq ft per family but more complicated and not followed through on anyway but you get my drift I hope)...they “parceled” it out so one community might have several reserves.


AFN Elections

So the elections are underway in Calgary and I hope to provide you with almost instant updates throughout the day. But you can link to the AFN Webcast and watch too. Ward was able to provide us with background info on each of the contenders in an earlier blog entry but thanks to the intrusion of real life neither of us was able to keep up. Bills!

I also released some comments that were caught in the moderated comments section. Please accept our apologies for not blogging again before now.

But let’s get to what we really want to blog about...what the heck is happening in Calgary? I have some information from a few sources for but sure would welcome input from anyone else following. BUT before we start and finish I would like to lay out my guess for what happens.

I say Shawn Atleo narrowly beats out Perry Bellgard in the fifth ballot. First out is Terry Nelson from Manitoba, Bill Wilson from British Columbia is out on the second ballot. A close race between Bellgard, Atleo, and Beaucage opens up the race. My guess is that Bellgard squeezes past Beaucage on the third ballot and the race is on between Bellgard and Atleo but because the winner must have a majority vote – a fifth ballot will take the vote into the wee hours of the morning.

A few weeks ago I would have thought Atleo had it hands down but I’m not so sure anymore. There was a debate at the Odawa Friendship Centre in Ottawa that Ward and I discussed with a few people. Atleo was thought to be a bit of a disappointment. He was not a very powerful speaker in fact was rather flat. He spoke in broad terms with no path. We know we need to end poverty through economic participation so I was left wondering where the meat and substance was.

Another factor I forgot about was the ‘local boy’ effect. Perry can and has brought a large body of support from Saskatchewan with him (according to a source on the floor Perry is commanding a lot of least there are a lot of Perry buttons). I’ve been told there is a feeling on the floor that Atleo lost some ground as a result of the debate – but made a funny joke about how his Grandfather was even shorter than him.

Another source on the floor said Perry was pulling ahead of the Beaucage and was now challenging Atleo. But I don’t know if it’s enough to win. I hear he is definitely the sweatiest candidate and has a nasty habit of making a snort noise after he speaks ( not that that is a bad thing).

Beaucage makes the best comments and made the grandest entry with a troupe of supporters banging big black balloons on signs with his entry – unfortunately those balloons look like big condoms! (heeheehee)

Wilson was boring – and THAT surprised me as I think he is many things but not boring! But he did manage to fit the word “poop” into his speech (in reference to farmed salmon). So.....lets wait for first ballot shall we?


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