Indigenous

AFN national chief to help Prince Charles promote 'Great Reset' environmental initiative in Canada

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde says he's helping Prince Charles promote an international initiative that aims to make greening the economy a centrepiece in the COVID-19 recovery plans of nations and corporations.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde says Prince of Wales shares First Nations worldview

Prince Charles asked Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde to help promote the 'Great Reset' during a telephone conversation in May. (Netflix)

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde says he's helping Prince Charles promote an international initiative that aims to make greening the economy a centrepiece in the COVID-19 recovery plans of nations and corporations.

The Prince of Wales asked Bellegarde to help promote the Great Reset, which is aimed at convincing governments and the private sector to put "sustainable business practices at the heart of their operations" according to his website, during a May 4 phone call and the national chief agreed to lend his political weight to the cause in Canada. 

"He's asked me to be a champion, to help him here in Canada…. I was very honoured to be asked for that assistance," said Bellegarde.

"He's from Great Britain and we have a relationship with the Crown of Great Britain and as treaty partners, who better to work together on this?"

Treaties in Canada, from pre-Confederation to the numbered treaties, have been between First Nations and the Crown. 

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) represents First Nations chiefs from over 600 communities and is the most influential Indigenous organizations in Canada.

Bellegarde said he has read the prince's 2011 book, Harmony, which posits that current crises like climate change stem from humanity's growing disconnect from nature.

"It shows that Prince Charles thinks like a First Nation person, he embraces our world view," said Bellegarde.

"He's been talking about this for many years, how we are all connected and interrelated between humankind and nature and all of our relatives in the global world."

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde says Prince Charles shares First Nations worldvievw. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Charles launched the Great Reset initiative last Wednesday during a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

"As we move from rescue to recovery, we have a unique but rapidly shrinking window of opportunity to learn lessons and reset ourselves on a more sustainable path," he said during the meeting, according to a Tweet from his Clarence House account.

"It is an opportunity we have never had before and may never have again."

The project involves the World Economic Forum and the prince's Sustainable Markets Initiative. 

Prince Charles given traditional name in 2000

Bellegarde said he's been in contact with the prince's office for many months, but the connection goes back further. Bellegarde said in 2000 an elder gave Charles the traditional name of "Sun Who Watches Over Him in a Good Way."

Bellegarde said he would not be receiving any payment for helping promote the project, which he plans to weave into his work as national chief whenever he is in conversation with government or private sector representatives.

Bellegarde said he would bring the issue up when he meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, cabinet members and the premiers, promoting "shovel-worthy projects, not just shovel-ready, so we can invest in a green economy."

However, Bellegarde said this new role does not mean he is planning to step away from the AFN before the 2021 election for national chief.

"Of course I'm running again," said Bellegarde. 

"We have to make a change, I think we've moved the yardsticks in Canada on a lot of fronts, but there is still a lot of work to do."

About the Author

Jorge Barrera is a Caracas-born, award-winning journalist who has worked across the country and internationally. He works for CBC's Indigenous unit based out of Ottawa. Follow him on Twitter @JorgeBarrera or email him jorge.barrera@cbc.ca.

with files from Reuters

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