Fontaine Ready To Address Critics

Tuesday, July 05, 2005 at 15:31



A national meeting of the Assembly of First Nations is taking place in Yellowknife this week, and AFN chief Phil Fontaine is expected to use the opportunity to deflect a little criticism that’s been directed his way.


Some chiefs, particularly in Alberta, have complained that the AFN has been acting like a form of government lately.


They point to the recent political accords the AFN signed with Ottawa a few weeks ago as prime examples.


Fontaine says he is not creating a national Indian government, even if some chiefs think that’s what the AFN is becoming.


Fontaine says First Nations are autonomous and are free to distance themselves from the political accords the AFN recently signed with Ottawa.


He says the assembly is merely acting on the direction it has received from Canada’s First Nations chiefs.


Fontaine won’t be the only one speaking at the three-day gathering. NDP leader Jack Layton is also slated to address Canada’s Indian chiefs, as is Canada’s chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley. Kingsley is scheduled to talk about electoral reform.