Disputed Black Lake Election Goes Ahead
Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at 13:58
A disputed election is taking place on the Black Lake First Nation today.
The dispute has split the remote community. Some people feel the proper procedures have been followed to hold a new election. Others are backing incumbent chief Victor Echodh, who has asked the Federal Court of Canada to intervene.
Echodh has made it clear that he won’t allow band facilities or resources to be made available for today’s vote, but a chief electoral officer appointed at the band assembly that ordered the new election is going ahead with the vote anyway.
A local pool hall is being used as the polling station.
Indian Affairs initially stated that the proper procedures had been followed in the lead-up to the election call, but backed off that statement so that it wouldn’t be perceived that the department was favouring one side over another.
The Federal Court still has to decide if it will hear the case.
The band’s last election last January was appealed over allegations that authorization was given for band funds to be used to fly in off-reserve members for their votes.