March 2016

Closing the Gap: A New Era for First Nations in Canada

11:45am-1:30pm | The Fairmont Chateau Laurier - 1 Rideau Street , Ottawa

Canada is entering a new era when it comes to First Nations. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde put forward a comprehensive and ambitious agenda for fundamental change, progress and partnership aimed at closing the gap in the quality of life between First Nations people and Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said “no relationship is more important” than the one with Indigenous Peoples, declaring the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Canada’s First Nations “a sacred obligation”. National Chief Bellegarde and First Nations across the country are now ready to embark on a new path with Canada, one based on respect, rights and a new nation-to-nation approach to governing. What does it mean for business and the economy?

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, leader of the national organization representing First Nations in Canada, will speak to the goals and objectives of First Nations and how we can all work together to close the gap, and achieve real change and reconciliation. On March 7, join National Chief Bellegarde to learn what Closing the Gap means for Canada’s future.

Member price:
Individual seat: $89 +HST
Table (seats 10): $800 +HST

Regular price:
Individual seat: $110 +HST
Table (seats 10): $990 +HST

Please Note: From February 29 to April 30, 2016 the Chateau Laurier will be conducting maintenance work in its parking garage. Due to limited parking availability while the work is being carried out, unfortunately on-site parking will be limited to registered hotel guests through our valet parking service at the rate of $38.00 per day. Local attendees will need to make alternative parking arrangements, which could include the Rideau Centre or the By Ward Market.

Closing the Gap: A New Era for First Nations in Canada

National Chief Perry Bellegarde

Assembly of First Nations

National Chief Perry Bellegarde

Perry Bellegarde, elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, holds a wealth of leadership experience. He’s spent the past thirty years putting into practice his strong beliefs in the laws and traditions instilled in him by the many Chiefs and Elders he has known over the years. Passionate and unrelenting in creating real, measurable progress on the priorities that matter most to First Nations, Perry Bellegarde is a strong advocate for honouring and implementing Inherent and Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction.
Originally from Little Black Bear First Nation in Treaty 4 Territory, Perry has served as Tribal Council Representative for the Touchwood-File Hills-Qu'Appelle Tribal Council, Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations, as well as Chief and Councillor for the Little Black Bear First Nation. He has experience and expertise in leadership at all levels of First Nations governance. In 2014 the Chiefs-in-Assembly elected Perry as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and re-elected him in 2018.
As Assembly of First Nations National Chief, Perry Bellegarde remains committed to building on the momentum created since his election in 2014. His national platform and agenda, Closing the Gap, remains a top priority and has directly influenced the federal government’s planning and priorities. Closing the Gap has resulted in a continuation of, and an expansion of, the $21 billion committed to Indigenous priorities in the last four federal budgets, the $3.3 Billion committed to on-reserve education, and the $1.4 Billion for child welfare. His focused approach on the passage of the Indigenous Languages Act, upholding the right of First Nations to define our own paths to self-determination, ensuring action on the successful complaint filed against the federal government by the AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society for under-funding First Nations child welfare, and a new fiscal relationship with the Crown that treats First Nations as governments in fiscal matters, are examples of priorities that remain squarely on his action agenda.
Perry, an oskâpêwis or helper, uses his life to advance First Nations priorities. Perry led Little Black Bear First Nation out of third-party management within eight months of being elected Chief and facilitated Little Black Bear’s re-qualification for CMHC housing after a 13 year period with no new houses. At the Touchwood-File Hills-Qu’Appelle Tribal Council, Perry worked to restore the original Treaty 4 grounds to reserve status in the town of Fort Qu’Appelle. He also facilitated the transfer of the hospital to First Nations control leading the way to a new multi-million dollar hospital—the All Nations Healing Hospital. At FSIN he negotiated a twenty-five year gaming agreement with the Province of Saskatchewan, stabilizing the Saskatchewan First Nations gaming industry which employs more than 2,000 people today. As Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations, he worked alongside the National First Nations Veterans Association to spearhead the national compensation package for First Nations Veterans and their spouses.
His commitment to ongoing education is exemplified in his achievement as the first Treaty Indian to graduate from the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Administration in 1984. In 2012, he graduated from the Certified Corporate Board Training through The Directors College sponsored by the Conference Board of Canada and McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business.
As an active champion of First Nations inclusion, Perry has served on a wide range of boards: Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, YMCA Canada, YMCA Regina, the Globe Theatre, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority and many more.
Perry’s focus as a First Nations leader has been recognized numerous times. He has been named the Stapleford Lecturer at the University of Regina, and has been awarded the Confederation Medal, the Saskatchewan Medal and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal on two separate occasions. This year, the Province of Saskatchewan recognized Perry with the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.
National Chief Perry Bellegarde remains committed to leading and building consensus to resolve issues that benefit First Nations and inspire unity. Throughout his life, working within a variety of political processes, Perry remains grateful for the strength and vision he has gained from the Elders. He vows to always place great importance on respecting their teachings. Their guidance has made him a man of foresight and a leader for generations.
See www.perrybellegarde.com and www.afn.ca for additional information regarding Perry’s leadership.

Our Sponsors

Telus Interac Green Shield Canada