Beaucage launches bid for AFN National Chief

    "With all that my spirit will muster, I accept that call in being their
    agent for change," said Grand Council Chief John Beaucage.

    OTTAWA, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - Change is coming to the Assembly of First Nations.
    Today, alongside youth, Chiefs and grassroots supporters, Grand Council
Chief John Beaucage of the Anishinabek Nation, launched his bid to become the
next National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).
    "Today, we're here to take the first step in the rebirth of the Assembly
of First Nations - A New AFN," said Grand Council Chief Beaucage. "I have a
vision for A New AFN where the rights-based agenda is paramount and First
Nations assert a renewed jurisdiction towards self-determination,
self-government and Nationhood."
    Beaucage spoke of his vision "as a grass-roots movement spurred on by the
youth and their call for unity, pride, and inspiration."
    "The youth have spoken about the need for action - about their need for
inclusion - to ascend from despair, disregard and indifference - to take their
rightful place as holders of their own destiny. Above all, the youth expect
fundamental change in how First Nations leaders take up their calling. With
all that my spirit will muster, I accept that call in being their agent for
change," said Beaucage.
    Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, who is an economist by education,
outlined his 10-point framework of key policy and priorities for A New AFN,
which includes:

    -   A commitment to Fundamental Change at the Assembly of First Nations
        through transparency, commitment engagement and renewal;

    -   A renewed Commitment to Youth in all areas, especially education,
        skills-development and employment;

    -   Implementing Regional Priorities and working for all regions across

    -   A renewed commitment to the Rights-Based Agenda and Treaty

    -   Eliminating First Nations Poverty through enabling self-sufficient
        First Nations economies, advocating for affordable housing and
        addressing overcrowding;

    -   Taking steps towards constitutional change Recognizing First
        Nations Governments and changing the way First Nations are funded
        through transfer payments and equalization;

    -   Overhauling First Nations Health Services, through integration of
        federal/provincial/local health programs, a renewed focus on
        prevention and chronic disease management, a renewed focus on
        nutrition and exercise, and implementing a systemic health indicators
        to measure success;

    -   Restoring our role as Stewards of the Mother Earth in protecting
        the environment;

    -   Supporting Nation Building by revitalizing First Nations language
        and culture, restoring identity and instilling pride in our people;

    -   Supporting First Nation Citizenship including our right to
        determine our own citizens and to advocate for our citizens and
        represent their interests wherever they choose to live;

    "Together, through Nation Building, we will work towards eliminating
poverty, building economies, empowering our citizens and our youth through
unity with pride," said Beaucage. "A New AFN will truly support First Nations
to determine who our citizens are, represent their interests wherever they
live and give us all a homeland of wealth and prosperity."
    Grand Council Chief Beaucage is the leader of the 42-member First Nations
of the Anishinabek Nation, representing one of the largest First Nations
constituencies in Canada. Beaucage was first elected as Grand Council Chief in
2004 then re-elected in 2006 by acclamation, a rare occurrence in the history
of one of Canada's oldest political organizations.
    As Grand Council Chief, Beaucage focused on his "solutions-based approach
to the rights-based agenda" by implementing innovative grass-roots approaches
in restoring First Nations law-making authority, listening to the voice of the
people, matrimonial real property, housing, Anishinabek Nation Economic
Blueprint, an official language policy, intergovernmental relations and
    Grand Council Chief Beaucage played an instrumental role in the First
Ministers' Meeting which took place in Kelowna, BC in November of 2005.
Leading up to the First Ministers' Meeting, John served as the Co-chair for
First Ministers' Working Groups for both Housing and Relationships.
    Grand Council Chief Beaucage co-holds the National Portfolio for Housing
with Co-Chairperson for the Assembly of First Nations Chief's Committee on
Housing. In May of 2008, Beaucage was appointed Chairperson of the $300
million First Nations Market Housing Fund.

    The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is the National organization
representing First Nations in Canada. There are over 630 First Nation
communities in Canada. The elected Chiefs from each First Nation will cast
their vote to elect the National Chief in Calgary, Alberta on July 22, 2009.

                       John Beaucage for National Chief
                       The Right Agenda. For Right Now.

For further information:

For further information: Bob Goulais, Phone: (877) 497-1721, Cell: (705)
498-5250, E-mail:; Marci Becking, Phone: (877)
497-1721, E-mail:

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