He’s calling on members to influence “all party platforms” before the October vote.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde speaks during the AFN annual general assembly in Vancouver on July 26, 2018. DARRYL DYCK/CP
FREDERICTON — The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is calling on members to lobby all parties in an effort to influence political platforms ahead of the federal election in October.
“With the federal election coming, I want to say now the importance of voting and the importance of influencing all party platforms,” Perry Bellegarde said Tuesday as he addressed the AFN’s annual general assembly in Fredericton.
He said the national group was able to influence parties’ policy in 2015 with its Closing the Gap document spelling out priorities.
If you want to become prime minister or member of Parliament, you better listen to our people and our concerns.AFN Chief Perry Bellegarde
“We set up meetings with the people designing the party platforms. That’s the same process we’re going to do again for October,” Bellegarde said.
He said 61.5 per cent of eligible First Nations voters cast their ballots in 2015, and he wants that number to increase during the upcoming election.
“If you want to become prime minister or member of Parliament, you better listen to our people and our concerns, because we vote now and have impact,” he said. “That’s what’s going to happen in October. We’re not going to be pushed to the side anymore.”
Bellegarde said the group’s top priority is climate change. MORE