The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations says everyone should vote, even community leaders like him who strive to be non-partisan.
Chief Perry Bellegarde’s announcement reverses his earlier decision not to cast a ballot on Oct.19.
“As Indigenous peoples, our relationship is with the Crown, rather than one political party. And I must work with the entire Crown. This is why I have not voted in federal elections,” Bellegarde said in a statement.
A week ago, the AFN issued a statement encouraging First Nations people to vote in the federal election. But Bellegarde revealed that he’s never voted in a national election, and didn’t plan to this time around.
Bellegarde says he then got an earful from his constituents, who told him he needs to lead by example.
“Last week, I listened to First Nations Elders, leaders, citizens and young people from across our territories. The message to me is consistent and clear: ‘It is vital that First Nations voices be heard in every way possible, including through the ballot box. You need to be an example. You need to vote,’” he said.
– with files from The Canadian Press