Fredericton (New Brunswick), July 23 (Canadian-Media): Perry Bellegarde, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is lobbying to influence political platforms ahead of the federal election in October, media reports said.
"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 61.5 percent 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.”
The group’s top priority is climate change, said Bellegarde. The second priority is restorative justice.
“Why are there so many First Nations people in jail?” he asked. “There’s not only common law and civil law recognized in Canada. There’s got to be room for First Nation’s law and natural law — Creator’s law,” he said.
He called on First Nations people to make an informed choice after looking at the parties’ priorities.