This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

There's A Word For That ....

"Get involved. Exercise your own personal sovereignty. The individual right to vote, we've got it since '61. It's another arrow in our quiver. It's another tool that we can utilize to bring about change. To influence. That's what I would say. We need to get our people involved."
"If people are watching this, the young people, I hope they understand my position, and that they still get out, even though I may not. I may or may not. But that's why. That's what I'm wrestling with personally."
"I just haven't done it [never cast a federal ballot]."
"The old people always said no matter who gets in [federal government], they're supposed to live by and abide by this relationship we have. And that's why a lot of people struggle: should we or shouldn't we participate. That's the challenge."
Perry Bellegarde, National Chief, Assembly of First Nations
AFN Chief Bellegarde has never voted federally, says he 'may or may not' on Oct. 19After imploring aboriginals to speak up at the ballot box if they want Ottawa to respond to their concerns, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde admitted he has never voted federally himself.  Photograph by: Fred Chartrand , The Canadian Press

The Assembly of First Nations is hard at work and has been for months, to encourage an increased turnout among aboriginal voters, known for their indifference to federal elections by the numbers who bother to exercise their franchise. The AFN has formed a useful partnership with Elections Canada, to spur First Nations peoples to realize their responsibilities as citizens. Even though First Nations are fond of pointing out that they're a nation apart.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde has been busy himself, spearheading some of those new initiatives meant to result in a greater turnout on election day October 19, of aboriginals. Although he has stated that he will not steer aboriginal voters in any particular direction, for any of the political parties he has made no secret of the fact that as national chief, his opinion of the current Conservative-led government is not very high.

In fact, it was the previous national chief who had enjoyed amicable relations with the Conservative government, and under whom much might have been accomplished had Mr. Bellegarde's assertive and belligerent contingent not halted an agreement that would have seen a billion dollars in additional funding earmarked for an improved native educational system. Mr. Bellegarde's contingent asserted that there was too much federal involvement in purely Indian affairs, though the agreement gave greater autonomy to First Nations in schooling administration.

So it is interesting that the National Chief of the AFN insists that aboriginals must act at the ballot box for the furtherance of their collective aspirations, while at the same time admitting that he has never, ever voted in a federal election. That alone should disqualify him from the very position he holds as chief spokesperson for First Nations in Canada. Yet Mr. Bellegard is quick to point out priorities for First Nations to "close the gap" between aboriginals and non-aboriginals on income, education and other areas of broad contention.

The next government should repeal alterations to the country's security and environmental laws, contends the AFN. Oh, and it must also launch an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and children, which the federal government has consistently declined to do, since such enquiries have already taken place, and data from reliable sources affirm that it is from among dysfunctional First Nations themselves that violence against women and children are sourced.

The initiatives that the AFN insist must be addressed by the next government would cost Canadian taxpayers billions of additional funding on top of the already generous commitments through tax dollars, but one thing is certain from past experience with the AFN and its demands; it insists on increased funding on a never-ending scale and equally insists on government and its agencies keeping distance from First Nations affairs.

The AFN loves blank cheques, signed and ready for it to fill in the amounts as they deem appropriate.

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