Phil Fontaine under fire for hiring a gangster
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 incident makes headlines across Canada, leading some Manitoba chiefs to call for Fontaine's resignation as leader of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. As seen in this report, a tired-looking Fontaine emerges from an all-day emergency meeting having survived a confidence vote.
. Brian Contois was reportedly paid $2,500 per month to advise the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs on strategies for reducing street-gang violence.
. While Fontaine survived the behind-closed-doors confidence vote, Contois wasn't so lucky. Contois was fired from his advisory position, deposed as the leader of the Manitoba Warriors and received a three-and-a-half-year sentence for drug trafficking.
Program: National News
Broadcast Date: Feb. 19, 1997
Guest(s): David Cassels, Phil Fontaine, Curtis Fontaine
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Reg Sherren
Last updated: January 8, 2013
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
Fontaine plays a key role in killing Canada's constitutional accord.
Fontaine's tell-all interview of abuse at church-run residential schoo...
Fontaine talks about the impact of his painful past.
Bill Cameron interviews the front-runner in the AFN leadership race ab...
Fontaine on his childhood, residential schools and his lifelong intere...
His slick campaign spurs a backlash in an emotional AFN leadership rac...
Fontaine negotiates a historic document for Manitoba's natives.
Fontaine finally defeats his old rival on his second attempt for top j...
Fontaine's controversial appointment of a gang leader backfires.
The new chief of AFN is optimistic despite facing deep divisions and h...
Native leaders reject Fontaine's conciliatory style for Coon Come's fi...
Fontaine is re-elected as the leader of Assembly of First Nations.
Don't be fooled by his soft-spoken and conciliatory manner. Phil Fonta...