Atleo on victory's edge as chiefs begin second ballot voting

Needing only 40 votes to secure a second term as national chief Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo appeared poised for victory on the second ballot.

APTN National News
TORONTO–
Needing only 40 votes to secure a second term as national chief Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo appeared poised for victory on the second ballot.

Polls close for second ballot voting at 3 p.m.

Atleo emerged with a commanding lead of 284 votes, with Mi’kmaq lawyer and professor Pam Palmater coming in a distant second with 95 votes.

Needing 324 votes to secure the 60 per cent needed to secure victory, Atleo now wields with considerable leverage to pry the remaining votes from other camps.

George Stanley, the AFN regional chief for Alberta, dropped off the ballot after garnering only 5 votes.

“We have a tough road to build for the next generation, but chiefs keep going,” said Stanley who took the stage after the results came in.

Erasmus, who received 29 votes, stood with Stanley during the Alberta candidate’s speech and was rumoured to be in talks with Palmater’s camp.

Surrounded by supporters from both sides, Erasmus spoke briefly with Palmater outside the main hall before entering a private room together. When both emerged, neither would speak to the media.

Erasmus then made his way to Terry Nelson, where the two chatted before leaving the convention centre and entering the nearby Intercontinental Hotel. Palmater followed shortly after.

Erasmus said he wasn’t backing Palmater or pulling out.

“The only deal we had was ‘anyone but Atleo,'” said Erasmus.

Joan Jack, a Manitoba lawyer who had a committed grassroots following, also dropped off the ballot after securing 20 votes. Jack released her backers.

“There’s no need for the 20 people that stood behind me to even worry about where they go,” said Jack.

Former Treaty 3 grand chief Diane Kelly took 39 votes, followed by former Roseau River First Nation Chief Terry Nelson with 35 and Mohawk activist Ellen Gabriel with 33.

Nelson said shortly after the first ballot results were announced that would be pushing on into the second ballot.

It appears unlikely Palmater can overtake Atleo since she would need to steal some votes away from him, even if she cornered every vote cast for the other competing candidates, to even get close.

Atleo now has considerable leverage to secure the remaining 40 votes. One of his backers, Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins was overheard urging him to get Erasmus to quit.

Before the first ballot vote, northern chiefs from Treaty 3 and Treaty 9 were considering backing Kelly as a bloc in hopes of emerging as Atleo’s kingmaker.

Heated discussions could be heard from inside Ontario’s caucus room but the province’s 133 chiefs reportedly cannot come to a consensus on any one candidate and therefore will not be voting as a block.

Online Producer / Ottawa

Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.

1 thought on “Atleo on victory's edge as chiefs begin second ballot voting

  1. I would really (as a First Nation person) would like to hear what the 284 Chiefs were thinking as opposed to the other 256 Chiefs who split their votes. Like why Atleo? what are the reasons, for example: what has he done in the past? Just for my information. To tell u the truth, I have NO IDEA how our Chief (ocn) voted. What did he research to help him make this decision and who helped make this decision? Funny… such an important topic for our future and yet it seems to be way out of hands.

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