Indigenous leader sues AFN over corruption allegations
AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald believes the assembly has a right to know who gets contracts and why. (Archives)
First Nation Chief in Northern Ontario files lawsuit against Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and its National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, in response to allegations of corruption.
Days after the declaration was presented to the Ontario Superior Court, Chief Wilfred King of the Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek First Nation, or Gull Bay, located north of Thunder Bay, received an apology from the AFN Executive Committee.
In a letter signed by the committee dated Oct. 20, Regional Chief for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador Paul Prosper acquitted Mr. King of any wrongdoing and recommended that the national chief apologize personally.
The AFN Executive recognizes that the National Chief's comments potentially intended to harm, and likely did, harm your reputation, he wrote in the document obtained by CBC.
“The AFN Executive Committee unequivocally apologizes to you and your organization for the About the National Chief. »
— Paul Prosper, AFN Regional Chief for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador
Mr. Prosper adds that following an investigation of comments by the National Chief and social media posts, the committee found no evidence of corruption on the part of Mr. King.
However, he is now seeking $200,000 in damages for defamation and damage to reputation since, according to him, the AFN is responsible for the conduct of Ms. Archibald.
In a written statement, RoseAnne Archibald says she welcomes the lawsuit with open arms.
I look forward to the start of the trial, since I believe that the truth must be shared, she continues.< /p>
According to his lawyer, the executive committee's decision was not made out of a spirit of cooperation.
I do not believe that the national chief was consulted and that she had the chance to discuss the file in advance, believes Aaron Detlor.
“This raises huge questions about how an executive committee that must include the national chief should operate and how it continues to operate in a way that is exclude.
—Aaron Detlor, attorney for RoseAnne Archibald
In an email sent to over 40 chefs dated July 1 titled URGENT & CONFIDENTIAL: Evidence of corruption, Ms. Archibald cites Mr. King and the $22,500 he received from an AFN contract that was awarded by his predecessor, former National Chief Perry Bellegarde.
Mr. King's name sits alongside a dozen others; these are individuals, law firms, and companies that would all have received APN contracts between 2020 and 2021.
In his court filings, Mr. King argues that the contract, issued on November 5, 2020, contained nothing malicious, and that he was never warned of concerns about its improprieties until he was #x27;comes due, four months later.
To the best of my knowledge, it was executed in a transparent manner while adhering to AFN procedures and policies, can we read.
Gull Bay First Nation Chief Wilfred King (Archives)
According to his statement, Perry Bellegarde told him offered the contract following the grand opening of the Giizis Energy Solar Energy Storage Center in Gull Bay in August 2019, an event Ms. Archibald also attended as Ontario Regional Manager at the time.
< p class="e-p">Mr. King alleges that Mr. Bellegarde asked him for help in developing similar energy projects for other First Nations.
As of Thursday, Aaron Deltor says that Ms. Archibald still has not received any paperwork advising her of the lawsuit.
If he can't speak to Mr. King's case, since he is is before the courts, Deltor says the National Chief is trying to address a larger, systemic issue regarding transparency and accountability within the AFN.
Details of any contract should be accessible if there is a fair and open distribution process, he says.
AFN distribution regulations contracts are expected to change soon. A motion to this effect will be put to a vote at a Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa.
If adopted, the APN would henceforth be required to produce a quarterly report on the contracts distributed and contract requests as well as an annual analysis of these procurement activities, in order to ensure compliance with the principles of transparency, of fairness and liability.
On August 16, the AFN notified her insurer that there was potential for legal action against her after she received four letters alleging defamatory statements which could lead to legal action, including that of Mr. King.
The following week, the Executive Committee passed a motion confirming that a letter would be sent to the National Chief, urging him to apologize to independent contractors who may be possible plaintiffs on defamatory grounds and to retract his statements on social media.
At the time, the committee had agreed that if the AFN refused to apologize, the member chiefs members of the band would themselves apologize on his behalf.
With information from CBC's Olivia Stefanovich