Mr. Speaker, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Matthew Coon Come, is seeking to empower grassroots aboriginal people in Canada by enabling them to vote for the person of their choice for the office of AFN's national chief: one member, one vote.
Mr. Coon Come is not the first national chief to believe that such a move toward grassroots democracy would be a positive step. Former national chiefs Ovide Mercredi, in 1991, and Phil Fontaine, in 1998, supported this proposal for democratic change.
Mr. Coon Come is not trying to do anything alarming or unprecedented. He is simply moving the Assembly of First Nations in the direction of democratic accountability to grassroots aboriginals so the ordinary band member can be assured of proper representation.
This initiative is based upon the same principles of grassroots democracy that are important to the Canadian Alliance. I applaud Mr. Coon Come and the many aboriginals who support him for trying to move in this direction.