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Top aboriginal chief says he will change "long-standing practice," and vote

OTTAWA — The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations says he's listened to his elders and will be voting on Oct. 19 after all.

Just a week ago, the AFN issued a statement encouraging First Nations people to vote in the federal election.

However, Chief Perry Bellegarde said that, as a personal choice, he had never voted in a national election and wasn't planning to cast a ballot this time either.

But Bellegarde says he changed his mind after hearing from a range of people, both young and old, who strongly urged him to practice what he preaches.

Bellegarde says he hadn't voted in the past in the interest of being non-partisan.

But he now says he'll vote because he doesn't want to give aboriginal voters a reason not to go to the polls.

Bellegarde adds that he has not yet decided who he will vote for and won't make his decision public.

The Canadian Press

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