Mr. Speaker, after an unprecedented three terms, National Chief Phil Fontaine has decided not to run for re-election next month, thereby ending nine years at the helm of the Assembly of First Nations.
A gifted and highly respected leader, he has been instrumental in bringing about positive change and advancement for first nations people.
A proud member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, he was a leading force in the resolution and settlement of claims arising out of the 150-year-old Indian residential school tragedy. As a master negotiator, he helped secure last year's historic residential schools apology.
He has received many awards and honours, including four honorary degrees and membership in the Order of Manitoba. His lifelong dedication to issues facing first nations and to the advancement and self-determination of indigenous people in Canada and around the world is worthy of the House's recognition.
We extend our best wishes to Chief Fontaine as he moves on to a new path in his life's journey.