Cameron Alexis has worn many hats during his successful career and they’ve all been a perfect fit. Well known and highly respected as a 23 year veteran of the RCMP, a former First Nation Chief (Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation), former Treaty 6 Grand Chief, and more recently, the Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for Alberta, Cameron Alexis has the experience it takes to make his latest challenge another success story. Earlier this month he was confirmed as the NDP candidate for Peace River-Westlock, the riding he will represent in the upcoming federal election on October 19.
“I look forward to serving the constituents in Peace River-Westlock and will do my best to serve all Canadians if I am elected this fall,” assured the 54 year old candidate in a recent interview.
“There’s a lot of work to be done, but that’s what I’m used to – hard work and dedication to the task at hand.
“We need a change in Ottawa; the Harper government is non-responsive to Aboriginal issues in Canada and in fact often enacts new legislation without consulting First Nations or any other segment of society for that matter. He is well known for manipulating and changing the rules to suit his own agenda, especially regarding the rights and obligations his government has when it comes to dealing with First Nations peoples and communities.”
Mr. Alexis said that as Alberta’s representative at the Assembly of First Nations he did what he could to circumvent Harper’s manipulative and often hurtful strategies and was involved in fighting against numerous Bills that were introduced without any input from the First Nations that would be affected by them.
“He rushed Bill C-43 (an omnibus bill which includes protected waterways) and Bill C-51 (Anti-terrorism) through the Senate without any effort to include meaningful consultation with Aboriginal peoples.
“The Harper government has done very little to enhance the lives or the futures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit citizens in Canada and we are not the only ones to be affected by his quest for power; every Canadian is affected when democracy is challenged. Our position in the world has been lessened since 2005; it isn’t a good thing when United Nations questions the Canadian government’s stance when it comes to acting in good faith towards Indigenous Canadians.”
He also commented on Harper’s lack of interest on issues that really matter to Canadians, including his refusal to consider a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women, his turtle-like pace when it comes to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Aboriginal Peoples and his failure to attend even one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s eight national events.
“Harper has been a consistent failure when it comes to Aboriginal issues and concerns; he’s a no-show at important events, but he is quick to criticize and blame others for the failures of his government.”
Approached by several parties as a potential federal election candidate, Alexis chose the NDP because he believes in what they are doing now and what they plan to do in the future. He is particularly impressed with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and earlier this year he thanked her for the Alberta NDP’s stance on Indigenous issues and her promises of better things to come. The provincial NDP, he said, was the only political party to reach out to Alberta’s First Nations.
“I sincerely thank premier-elect Notley for recognizing the Indigenous peoples of Alberta and the will to work with us,” stated Alexis in comments to APTN. “She further reached out to ask for the Aboriginal votes. This was not evidenced by the other parties. We look forward to a positive relationship with the NDP and begin the path to move forward on all issues relative to First Nations and all Albertans.”
When confirmed as the federal NDP candidate for Peace River-Westlock, Mr. Alexis said that he is “honoured to join Tom Mulcair’s team and have the chance to represent the NDP here in Peace River-Westlock. This election is about change. Tom has a concrete plan with the right priorities for the people of Alberta, including making life more affordable and a real Nation-to-Nation relationship with Indigenous communities. His political prowess is well known and he has the experience it will take to bring about positive change for every citizen in Canada.
“We need to improve the economic and environment balance. To do that we need a leader in Ottawa who caters to all Canadians, one who cares about creating positive economic growth and doing it in a way that protects the future of our water, our land and our health – Tom Mulcair is that leader.”
Noting that he is “confident that Tom Mulcair has the experience needed to replace Stephen Harper,” Mr. Alexis said that “now is the time for change; we need to join together, to work together and to unite all Canadians so we can ensure that positive change takes place in Canada, not just for Indigenous citizens but for every Canadian.”
Young people across Canada, noted Alexis “are becoming more and more involved and they are making the effort it will take to effect positive political change at the federal level. We have heard from many young voters and they have supported us as we have tried, often in vain, to stop the Harper government from imposing Bill after Bill in an effort to quash our rights and negatively affect our ability to gain positive ground.
“I encourage every Canadian, no matter what age they are, to read the data, look at the facts and ask themselves ‘are we better off today than we were in 2005?’ I am confident that they will reach the same conclusion on the federal level as they did last May in Alberta. It is indeed time for a change, a positive change that will come to pass once we have a government in Ottawa that actually keeps its promises and understands the value that Aboriginal Canadians bring to the table.”
Tom Mulcair expressed his pleasure upon hearing that Cameron Alexis would be representing the NDP in Peace River-Westlock, noting: “It is an honour to welcome someone as impressive as Cam to our team. His background in law enforcement and representing First Nations on the national stage speaks to the diversity and strength of his experience.”
The new AFN Regional Chief for Alberta, Chief Craig Makinaw said his predecessor has the knowledge and the experience it will take to help effect positive change in Canada. “Cam Alexis possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience working with First Nations, the Canadian public, business, industry and all levels of government. If elected, he will be an asset, bringing a wealth of understanding of social and political issues from an Aboriginal perspective to Ottawa; I wish him all the best.”
In addition to his multi-faceted leadership roles, Cameron Alexis has served on various boards and committees including the Alberta Indian Investment Corporation, Yellowhead Tribal Council, Edmonton Botanical Gardens, National Aboriginal Economic Development Committee, Edmonton Northlands, First Nations Information Governance Centre, Working Group on Natural Resource Development, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Alexis has also made presentations at the United Nations on Treaty rights, and has hosted the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
“I’m asking First Nations and Indigenous people to step up, stand up and be counted. I encourage Aboriginal participation in the election process; if you have something to offer, step up to the plate and help make a difference. If we do not become more involved in mainstream politics, we will continue to live under the thumb and bad wishes of Harper’s version of Conservatism. We need to play a bigger role in the way this country operates. If you are unable to run as a candidate in the October election, do the right thing and make your way to the polls on election day – your vote counts.”
Cameron Alexis and his wife of 34 years, Kathleen, have three adult children and 12 grandchildren.