Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde told the chiefs that he wants to see a few key pieces of legislation passed before the House of Commons rises in June and an election campaign takes over federal politics, including the child-welfare legislation, the long-awaited Indigenous Languages Act, and NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s private member’s bill, which seeks to ensure Canada’s laws line up with the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Bellegarde also spoke about climate change and asked the chiefs and delegates to support a carbon tax as one way to head it off.
He talked about putting his organization’s “Closing the Gap” document in front of each party during the last federal election. It outlined priorities on everything from the environment to Indigenous languages.
Bellegarde said First Nations voters were responsible for flipping 22 ridings in the 2015 federal election.
“You people running in federal elections, you better listen to First Nations issues now if you want to get elected,” he said.