Jagmeet Singh to Address First Nations Leaders in B.C.

After failing to respond to an invitation and then apologizing for it, Jagmeet Singh will address the B.C. Assembly of First Nations later this week.

On Wednesday, B.C. AFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee tweeted that the NDP leader had agreed to address chiefs assembled virtually for the organization’s annual general meeting, which wraps up on Thursday.

“I think that bodes well for our chiefs who want to ask questions to leaders in terms of the NDP platform,” Chief Teegee told Global News BC on Wednesday. “I think that’s a good thing.”

Mr. Singh is expected to provide a short video address, explaining his commitments to reconciliation, and Chief Teegee is calling on Liberal Justin Trudeau and Conservative Erin O’Toole to follow suit.

The three major party leaders were all invited to provide video messages for the annual gathering, with “plenty of notice and flexibility in scheduling,” according to a B.C. AFN press release sent earlier this week.

None responded, said Chief Teegee, until Mr. Singh apologized on Tuesday for what he called “a mistake,” and confirmed he would make a brief online appearance.

Chief Teegee has said the initial lack of interest from the federal leaders calls into question their commitment to reconciliation.

“I think we all have those questions in terms of commitments towards reconciliation,” he said. “Certainly, we hear a lot of good words and lip service, if you will, from all the parties.”

The B.C. AFN represents more than 200 First Nations across the province. Other participants in the three-day conference include Indigenous candidates running in the 2021 federal election.


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