Conservatives forced to pull photo of AFN national chief from party website



(Photo from the meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde (left) Photo that appeared on Twitter (right) via @NativeTweets)

Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
The Conservative party was forced to pull a photograph of Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde used to promote a petition trolling for signatures in support of the Harper government’s First Nation Transparency Act.

The Conservative party posted the photograph Sunday but removed it the same day after receiving a complaint from AFN CEO Peter Dinsdale, a spokesperson for the organization told APTN National News Thursday. The party posted a cropped photo showing only Bellegarde on their Twitter page which was also pulled.

The photograph was taken by the Prime Minister’s Office and initially distributed after a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Bellegarde last month.

The photo was posted on the Conservative party’s website Sunday, the AFN spokesperson confirmed.

“The use of the picture was completely unauthorized. We were not asked if it could be used nor were we given any notice it would be used for such a purpose,” said Don Kelly, spokesperson for the AFN. “Had we been asked, we would have flatly refused. As soon as it came to our attention we called for it to be taken down immediately.”

Conservative party spokesperson Cory Hann said the party posted the photo in “error” but quickly corrected the mistake.

“The image was placed in error and once the error was realized the image was replaced,” said Hann.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt promotes the petition on the party website and asks for signatures in support of “more transparency for First Nation governments.”

APTN National News asked Valcourt’s office whether the minister played a role in the decision to use Bellegarde’s image as part of the pitch for signatures. His office had not responded as of this article’s posting.

The Conservative party first posted the petition on its website in December with the image of an inukshuk which is an iconic Inuit symbol. The Inuit are not impacted by the transparency legislation and are not identified as First Nations.

The party has so far refused to reveal how many signatures the petition has attracted.

Valcourt directed his department late last fall to take several First Nation communities to court for failing to comply with the legislation.

Onion Lake Cree Nation is challenging the Act in Federal Court.

Cree NDP MP Romeo Saganash called the Conservative party “sickening” over its decision to launch the petition.

jbarrera@aptn.ca

@JorgeBarrera

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  • Tracey Iverson

    He cares nothing about our Aboriginal people in his words “Not high on his radar”

  • Michael Kannon

    When they promoted Transparency they had to crop out Stephen Harper. Very telling!

  • Edos

    That’s what happens when the PM thinks he owns the AFN National Chief like he thought he owned Atleo but soon discovered that wasn’t the case when Atleo stepped down. Same crooked Federal government. Steal your land, your resources, your picture.

  • Harper’s Nuthatch

    The Harper Reform Party, sleaze at its finest.

  • morenonsense

    This is the same sort of thing Harper did with the claim to not honour copyrighted (news) material for political purposes.

  • nellie

    Does this government ‘ever’ play fair. They are all about secrecy, dirty tricks and division. How do the people that support them sleep at night? If his supporters sleep at night it is because they are not reading about what he has done to Canada.

  • DrDave52

    the irony of him trying to promote transparency while muzzling scientists, and restricting freedom of the press. lol