Four candidates in the race for national chief of the Assembly of First Nations are claiming election interference by the federal government because of the presence of a cabinet minister ahead of the vote.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett was at the annual general assembly today in Vancouver where voting is taking place.
After the first round of voting put incumbent candidate Perry Bellegarde in the lead, his four challengers stood together beside a stage to discuss their concerns.
Sheila North of Manitoba said Bennett’s presence represents a “disgusting display of interference” and a direct attack by the Liberal government on the assembly, while Miles Richardson of B.C. said the federal government has divided First Nations long enough.
Russ Diabo of Quebec called for the minister to be sanctioned.
In a statement, the federal department says “in no way” did the minister interfere in the election process.
(The Canadian Press)