First Nations Citizen Serves in Australian Parliament
While Canadian aboriginals at home celebrate the election of seven members of Parliament and the appointment of two aboriginal cabinet ministers, another aboriginal son has made good thousands of miles away: Walt Secord, Mohawk-Ojibway, was recently sworn in as a member of Australian Parliament, Postmedia News reports.
Secord, formerly a reporter for the Toronto Star, has been part of the Australian Labor Party for 20 years, the news service reported, is ensconced in the legislature of New South Wales, the most populated and powerful state in that country.
In fact Secord credits his cultural agility to his formative years growing up with an aboriginal father and English-Canadian mother. He’s a Mississauga from the New Credit First Nation near Brantford, Ontario, the news service said.
"I'm fiercely proud of my aboriginal ancestry," Secord said in his maiden speech, according to Postmedia News. "It shapes my social justice."
The self-described conservative-leaning Labor Party member once served as the chief spokesman for former New South Wales premier Bob Carr and was later press secretary and campaign strategist for former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd, Postmedia news said. Secord also served as chief of staff for senior ministers in the Rudd government and was chief of staff for the former New South Wales premier, Kristina Keneally.
"Being a bicultural person, I think it gives you an insight into how people think, what people do, what people believe," Secord told Postmedia News. "I think that's helped me as a strategist."