July 16, 2006

July 16, 2006 Bad optics

The woman behind Fontaine's leadership win also paid by the AFN Sue Bailey, July 13, 06, via smalldeadanimals

OTTAWA (CP) - Phil Fontaine staked his third successful bid to lead the Assembly of First Nations on a landmark deal for residential school survivors - a deal won with help from a paid AFN adviser who's also known as his longtime companion.

Fontaine made the $2-billion lump-sum settlement a centrepiece of his campaign. He rode that triumph to a decisive victory Wednesday, winning another three-year term. But Fontaine was mum when repeatedly asked through his staff to talk about Kathleen Mahoney, a University of Calgary human rights lawyer, AFN negotiator and adviser.

Fontaine and Mahoney have been a couple, sharing homes and vacations, for much of the last decade. Their personal connection isn't much of a secret in native and legal circles, but is less widely known outside them.

It would be irrelevant but for the millions of dollars in public funding that sustain the AFN, critics say.


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