To no one’s surprise, incumbent National Chief Phil Fontaine has been reelected to lead the Assembly of First Nations in an election on July 12. Fontaine defeated B.C.’s Bill Wilson by a 373 to 117 vote, capturing 76 per cent of the 490 votes cast for another three-year term.
During the past three years Fontaine negotiated the Residential Schools compensation package for $ 1.9-billion. He also negotiated and signed the $5 billion Kelowna Accord with the Liberals to upgrade housing, drinking water and other infrastructure on Canada’s reserves. The election of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party last January has put an end to that accomplishment, however.
In his electoral challenge, Wilson accused Fontaine of being too close to the Liberals and vowed that he would change the way the AFN Chief deals with all of Canada’s political parties.
Fontaine, from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, was first elected as national chief in 1997. He was re-elected again in 2003.
Canada’s 633 band chiefs are the only ones eligible to vote for the AFN National Chief.