Bellegarde leads the way in AFN campaign spending, donations

Assembly of First Nations candidates Perry Bellegarde, Ghislain Picard and Leon Jourdain released their campaign expenses and donor lists Wednesday.

(Left to right: Perry Bellegarde, Leon Jourdain, Ghislain Picard. APTN/File)  

Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
Assembly of First Nations candidates Perry Bellegarde, Ghislain Picard and Leon Jourdain released their campaign expenses and donor lists Wednesday.

AFN candidate Perry Bellegarde was the last AFN candidate to release the information, posting the details on his campaign website a little more than hour before the chief electoral officer was scheduled to deliver the results from the first ballot of voting.

Bellegarde’s campaign said it spent $34,771 on the campaign, which was the most of the three candidates vying for the job of national chief of the AFN. The campaign said it raised about $22,880, with $6,750 coming from in-kind donations from 25 donors. About 63 per cent of campaign funds was spent on travel and accommodations, 15 per cent on promotions, 13 per cent on advertising and eight per cent on administration and office expenses.

Saskatchewan Building Trades and Winnipeg-based Dreamcatcher Promotions each donated $3,000 to Bellegarde’s campaign. The campaign also received $2,500 from Aboriginal Insurance and Piapot First Nation in Saskatchewan.

APTN asked Bellegarde Tuesday evening if he would release his campaign expenses and donor list, but he didn’t answer the question. His campaign responded Wednesday morning saying they would be posted online.

Picard’s campaign released their campaign financial information early Wednesday morning. The released financial information shows that Picard spent $18,932 on his campaign and that he received $9,677 in donations. An official said Picard also paid for the campaign from his own finances.

Picard’s campaign expenses show that he spent $8,182 on promotional materials and advertising. The expenses also show he spent $10,000 on travel and hotel expenses

Picard’s donor list shows he received the majority of his funding from Quebec Indigenous communities. He received $2,500 each from Wendake and Malecites de Viger. He also received $1,000 (TOTAL OR EACH?) from Kahnawake, Listuguj and Gaspeg.

Picard was asked Tuesday evening whether he would release the campaign finance information submitted to the AFN’s chief electoral officer. He said he wanted to first consult with his team. Then, late Tuesday night, an official in the Picard camp told APTN National News that the long-time Quebec regional chief would be releasing the information.

AFN candidate Leon Jourdain’s team also released their campaign expenses and donor lists. Jourdain’s campaign team says it spent $11,744 from two donations. Treaty 3 Grand Council donated $2716.35 to Jourdain’s campaign and Toronto neurosurgeon Michael Dan donated $9,028.

In an interview with APTN National News Tuesday evening, Jourdain said he would release the information. He said he never took any corporate donations.

All candidates are required to submit their expenses and donor lists to the chief electoral officer before they appear at the AFN assembly all-candidates forum, which was held Tuesday. Each of the candidates faces a $35,000 campaign spending limit.

Candidates are not required to publicly release the information.

APTN has been told by legal counsel working with the AFN electoral team that it is up to the candidates to release their campaign financial information, not the chief electoral officer.

The vote began Wednesday at 9 a.m. Only chiefs or their proxies can vote for national chief of the AFN.

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@JorgeBarrera