Phil Fontaine not re-elected as AFN grand chief
Don't be fooled by his soft-spoken and conciliatory manner. Phil Fontaine has been a dominant force in native politics since the 1970s. The Manitoba chief who once admitted to being petrified of public speaking was one of the first to speak publicly about residential school abuse. From masterminding the death of Meech Lake to dismantling the Department of Indian Affairs in Manitoba, the tenacious leader of Canada's most powerful native group has orchestrated key deals aimed at improving the quality of life for his people.
The momentum Fontaine's referring to includes a whopping $350 million healing fund established by Ottawa to help those abused at residential schools. But observers say Fontaine has become a victim of his own success. Fontaine's skilful deal making has led to charges of being too cozy with Ottawa, a perception his rival Coon Come successfully played up.
. Matthew Coon Come received 50 per cent of the vote eight points ahead of Fontaine on the first ballot, 10 per cent short of a win. On the second ballot, Coon Come picked up another eight points, which led to Fontaine dropping out of the race.
. Coon Come was born on April 13, 1956, at Lake Mistassini, Que. He began his political career at age 21, when he dropped out of McGill University to become the deputy chief of the Mistassini Cree in 1977.
. During the campaign, Coon Come accused Fontaine of being far too close to the Liberal government. Fontaine's detractors have even suggested that the Liberals helped fund Fontaine's bid for a second consecutive term as the AFN leader.
. In 2001, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien named Fontaine the chief commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission.
Program: 24 Hours
Broadcast Date: July 13, 2000
Guest(s): Phil Fontaine
Host: Joni Nikolou
Last updated: April 30, 2012
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
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Don't be fooled by his soft-spoken and conciliatory manner. Phil Fonta...