(Former AFN Regional Chief Cameron Alexis is now an NDP candidate in Alberta. Photo courtesy: Alberta Native News)
APTN National News
Former Alberta Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Cameron Alexis has won the NDP nomination battle for the riding of Peace River –Westlock in Alberta.
Alexis is also the former chief of Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation.
Alexis did not seek re-election for AFN regional chief last May because he was helping to care for his wife who was ill.
He told APTN that since then, his wife’s health has significantly improved and he is ready to spend long stretches of time away from home.
Alexis said he was approached by more than one party to consider running, but chose the NDP because of its track record on Aboriginal issues including its stance against Bill C-51 and improving on childcare services.
“I’ve come to respect the NDP not only from a First Nations perspective but also on Canadian issues,” said Alexis.
Alexis was also impressed by the late Jack Layton’s support of Indigenous people and took notice of Thomas Mulcair’s presence at the recent TRC events in Ottawa.
He said it’s time Canada’s Indigenous people get engaged in politics.
“We have to participate in order to affect change. With Prime Minister Harper and all of the bills and legislation they are presenting, it’s affecting our Treaty and Indigenous rights. We have to start standing up and running for office.”
Alexis is hopeful that if the NDP is successful in winning enough seats to lead the country that they will take serious the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).
“I think Tom Mulcair has a wealth of political experience and he can deliver leadership to this country. And with the provincial NDP Premier Rachel Notley, she has stuck by her word and is implementing UNDRIP. That is something Prime Minister Harper called aspirational, but I’m hoping the federal NDP will implement it as well.”
Alexis is married with two sons, a daughter and 12 grandchildren. He served two years as AFN regional chief, six years as chief of his home community and before that served a 23 year career as an RCMP officer.
Ultimately, he encourages Indigenous people to get to the polls and make their voices heard this fall.
“I’m asking First Nations and Indigenous people to step up, stand up and be counted. We have to make a difference otherwise we’ll be continued to be dictated to and unable to participate in how this country operates.”
So far, Alexis is facing Conservative Arnold Vierson. The Liberals and the Greens have yet to field a candidate.