3Confederacy, Executive), asserts that “
any amendments to these terms of reference must beapproved by all AFNRC Commissioners
Despite the assertion that the AFN Renewal Commission is an “arms length body that willoperate in a truly transparent, open and accountable process”, the appointment of the AFNRenewal Commission Co-Chairs, seems arbitrary and are probably based upon political debtsowed by Fontaine to the First Nations Summit, and to Joe Miskokomon for Joe’s assistancein Fontaine’s election campaign. I believe Miskokomon was also on Fontaine’s transitionteam.
The other Commissioners also appear to be from groups/regions where Fontaine wassupported in his candidacy as National Chief. In any case, as was evident at the AFN-AGA inCharlottetown, there are Chiefs in different regions (Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec) who feelthat they weren’t adequately consulted on the appointments of the Renewal Commissioners.
Some of the Commissioners are from regions where Fontaine didn’t have a lot of support, soindividuals were named from Women’s, Off-Reserve groups, as an attempt to broaden thecomposition of the Renewal Commission to include these groups, the individuals were probably chosen because of their support for Fontaine, although admittedly it is difficult to prove this.
In addition to the deficiencies of the nomination process, and any political bias the AFNRenewal Commissioners may have in favour of the incumbent National Chief, the “armslength” notion is negated by section 3 d) of the Terms-of-Reference, which provides that theRenewal Commission will “
provide recommendations to the AFN Executive on specificissues that can be implemented without changes to the governing instruments of AFN and NIB
”. Again, the Renewal Commission should be have been duly authorized by the Chiefs-in-Assembly and reporting back with recommendation about interim changes to the Chiefsdirectly, not the AFN Executive, after all, it is a Chiefs’ organization. This is another breachof the AFN Charter articles cited above.
At this point AFN is just one of a number of “national institutions” that the federalgovernment is using to advance their assimilationist-termination policy objectives. The AFNRenewal Commission received about $1.5 million from the federal government without havea valid resolution from any of the AFN Charter bodies.
The Martin Liberal government is using Phil Fontaine, and AFN, as part of their “cooperative collaboration” approach in building “relationships” with First Nations. The“national institutions” on governance and fiscal institutions will continue to be funded outside of any AFN approved mandate. Fontaine is promoting a “national institution” onhousing. All of these “national institutions” will also have some impact on local and regionalFirst Nation-Crown political-legal-fiscal relations.
The AFN Renewal Commission is to table a report and recommendations by the summer of 2005. This time-frame parallels the federal government’s legislative and budgetary processes.