When the process to secure recognition for Newfoundland’s aboriginal people started over 30 years ago Calvin Francis never thought the number of people who would eventually seek status would be as high as it is.
Francis is chief of the Gander Bay Indian Band Council and he’s running in the Oct. 23 election for the position of chief of the newly former Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band.
Uniting the members of Qalipu, which could number at around 40,000, will be one of his priorities.
“The numbers do mean a lot more effort,” said Francis, 62. “Because right now our budgets that exist for various programs is not near enough to accommodate the need.”
As chief he’d like to work on increasing the budgets of current programs, reviving others and bringing in new ones.
Francis would also like to see changes in the board setup.
“I think that board should be more independent.
“Then I think you’d have more clout and I think we could be more progressive.”