National News

Today on the Hill: Seeking a new AFN leader

By Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Aboriginal leaders are gathering in Ottawa today to figure out where to take their fight over education, and to start the process of finding a new leader.

The Special Chiefs Assembly has been called to decide on the timing and location for an election to replace Shawn Atleo, who resigned as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations earlier this month.

Atleo stepped down after being heavily criticized for supporting a Harper government bill aimed at reforming aboriginal education, saying he didn't want to be a "lightning rod" in the debate over Bill C-33.

Aboriginal chiefs from several provinces want Ottawa to scrap the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, saying it has failed to meet conditions set out by aboriginal leaders.

Here are some other events scheduled in Ottawa today:

— Gen. Thomas Lawson, Canada's chief of defence staff, appears at a Commons defence committee that's exploring the issue of sexual assault in the military;

— Finance Minister Joe Oliver makes an announcement at a seniors' centre about action the government plans to take to protect consumers;

— The parliamentary budget officer posts a report entitled "Revenue and Distribution Analysis of Federal Tax Changes: 2005-2013";

— RCMP officials appear at the Commons health committee, where witnesses are debating the health risks of marijuana;

— And Michelle Rempel, the minister of state for western economic diversification, will talk about the current state of the country's capacity to generate hydroelectricity at the Canadian Hydropower Association Forum.

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