It's time for a First Nations person to be governor general: Bellegarde

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OTTAWA — Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations says it's time for Canada to have a First Nations governor general now that Julie Payette has resigned from the role.

The national chief of the political advocacy organization says having a First Nations person as governor general would send a strong message to young people who would see themselves reflected at the highest levels in Canada.

He also says having more First Nations people at all levels of government — and on the Supreme Court — would reflect the diversity of Canada and be a move toward reconciliation.

Bellegarde, who is not seeking re-election as national chief next summer, says he has not been formally approached by "any person in decision-making authority" regarding the job.

Michèle Audette, who was a commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, says appointing an Indigenous person as governor general would be a "historic" move.

She also says that whoever ends up being named, no matter their background, must acknowledge Canada's colonial history.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press