The outgoing regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Manitoba says he’s handed over all his electronic equipment including his phone as part of an internal investigation into a data breach within the organization.
“I know there’s an independent report being conducted right now on the harassment claim and also on the data breach that there’s an ongoing investigation right now that from myself as an executive member, I am fully participating in,” Kevin Hart tells Face to Face host Dennis Ward.
But Hart contends there is no infighting at the AFN ahead of this summer’s election, despite calls for a financial review and multiple ongoing investigations.
“There’s two ongoing investigations with the data breach as well as the harassment claim,” says Hart. “I can’t make any comments on those because I haven’t heard from either reports or either final reports.”
In recent months, a Chiefs of Ontario resolution called for an independent financial review at the AFN.
However, prior to that being addressed, an investigation was commenced over allegations of bullying and harassment claims against Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald.
As previously reported by APTN News, Archibald claimed the investigation is “reprisal in response” to the Chiefs of Ontario resolution.
At the time, Archibald said “the Chiefs of Ontario resolution seeks an independent financial review of the Assembly of First Nations. I have become a target of the National Chief and the Assembly of First Nations Secretariat because I have documents that show financial improprieties within the Assembly of First Nations.”
Outgoing National Chief Perry Bellegarde denied Archibald’s accusation, saying the harassment allegations and call for financial review “are two separate issues.”
Bellegarde replied, “After hearing the results of a preliminary review of complaints by Assembly of First Nations’ external legal counsel Peter Mantas, the AFN Executive Committee, comprised of Regional Chiefs, voted unanimously to proceed with a full investigation into allegations of harassment and bullying made by multiple AFN employees against a Regional Chief.”
Looking at his options
Hart has announced he will not be seeking a third term as the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) regional chief for Manitoba, but he says that doesn’t mean he’s done with the national political advocacy organization.
He says it’s time to move on from the role he has held for the past six years and consider something bigger — a run to replace Bellegarde.
“I have a number of opportunities that I’m exploring aside from thinking about running for national chief,” says Hart. “I know that my name has been put up possibly for a Senate appointment.
“I haven’t thought about it but there’s a possibility of running as a member of parliament.”
During his six years as AFN regional chief for Manitoba, Hart has held some of the biggest portfolios, including housing, water, child welfare and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
He says there has been an unprecedented amount of investments in that time pointing to the $39 billion in new federal funding.