Minister congratulates National Chief - talks the talk
Rights issues, lands and resources
CBC Backgrounder - Trapline to National Chief
"I solemnly promise and sincerely pledge to fulfil the duties as they are outlined in our charter. I sincerely pledge to place the needs of our assembly above my own comfort. I solemnly promise and sincerely pledge to watch for all dangers and to give you warning. I solemnly promise and sincerely pledge to watch for opportunities to strengthen our peoples and to advance all such efforts."
Matthew CoonCome is the new National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. He won after a second ballot vote that saw him with 287 votes or just over 58 per cent of the vote and incumbent Phil Fontaine with 207 votes or almost 42 per cent of the vote. It meant they would go to a third ballot because the rules called for the victor to have 60 per cent of the vote. But rather than go three ballots, Fontaine graciously conceded defeat and threw his support behind Cooncome, declaring him the winner.
It became a two man race with the results after the first ballot voting - Matthew CoonCome 244 votes just over 50 per cent- Phil Fontaine 202 votes just under 42 per cent - Lawrence Martin 26 votes just over 5 per cent - Marilyn Buffalo 13 votes just under three per cent.
Marilyn was bumped out of the second ballot because the rules eliminate a candidate who fails to get 15 votes.
As well, Lawrence Martin was dropped from that first ballot as he placed last behind the frontrunners.
July 12, 2000
For Immediate Release
STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE ROBERT D. NAULT
MINISTER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT
Minister Nault commented today on the outcome of the election of the National Chief for the Assembly of First Nations:
"I would like to extend my congratulations to newly-elected National Chief Matthew Coon Come. He brings to the job an impressive range of political experience at all levels. His expert advocacy on important issues have earned him national and international respect. With his extensive experience and dynamic leadership abilities, he will be a compelling national voice for First Nations people in Canada. I look forward to working with such a versatile and visionary leader.
I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the significant contribution of outgoing National Chief Phil Fontaine in his dedicated representation of First Nations people at the national level over the last three years. During his tenure, he brought First Nations aspirations to the attention of the government, and indeed to the country -- and got results. As National Chief, he has been a formidable and effective advocate for First Nations people across our country.
Finally, congratulations also to Marilyn Buffalo and Lawrence Martin who took up the honourable challenge of running for elected office."
For more information:
Office of the Minister
Reporting before the vote
July 12, 2000
Chiefs will vote today for a new leader to guide
the Assembly of First Nations.
He is less confrontational and many chiefs say it has worked to make gains for Indians, but others say he is too close to the Chretien Liberals.
But if the most applause is an indicator, then despite criticism, Phil Fontaine will likely be re-elected as AFN National Chief. His masters, the Chiefs from across Canada will vote today for their leader to guide the Assembly of First Nations.
The four candidates made speeches last night...and one of them Lawrence Martin, a Juno award winner sang some songs and joked around.
Incumbent chief Phil Fontaine and his rival Matthew CoonCome seemed to gain the greatest response from the gathering. CoonCome alluded to Fontaine's political ties to the Liberal government, while Fontaine affirmed that he hasn't ever been afraid to take on the government on any issue.
Marilyn Buffalo called on the chiefs to refocus their attention on the treaties and to help educate young people about their importance.
For the first time, the AFN annual assembly and election of national chief is being covered by an Aboriginal tv network.APTN the Aboriginal peoples Television Network is broadcasting live periodically from the assembly.The Native leaders from across Canada will elect their new national chief in a process expected to see at least two ballots of voting. The winner will be the person who gets sixty per cent of the votes.
Marked by the grand entry, including some pomp and pageantry of powerful visuals of culture - the Elders, veterans and some traditional native regalia, the assembly got underway at Ottawa's Landsdowne Park.
The current national chief Phil Fontaine and the three candidates opposing him, Marilyn Buffalo, Lawrence Martin and Matthew Cooncome, will deliver their speeches today.
Tomorrow the Native leaders will elect their new national chief in a process expected to see at least two ballots of voting.
Marilyn Buffalo wants to be National Chief
Marilyn's Biographical Notes