Election Day For Saskatchewan Metis

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 at 16:12



Today is the day Metis citizens in Saskatchewan have been waiting for.


Metis voters are heading to the polls to elect new leaders for the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan.


The election is being run by an independent oversight committee in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the controversial 2004 MNS election.


Chief electoral officer David Hamilton says over 2,700 people pre-registered before today’s vote — and about 1,500 of them cast their ballot at advance polls last week.


He reminds voters they can still register at polling booths if they haven’t already.


Metis voters began making their way to polling stations across the province at 9:00 this morning.


La Ronge Metis Eric Gardiner says he’s happy to see the election finally being run fairly and properly.


Gardiner believes the Metis people still deal with the negative stigma that developed following the last election, but says this new voting process will hopefully address those concerns.


A polling station in Prince Albert’s West Flat district saw a steady flow of voters this morning.


One of the people taking part was St. Louis resident Jim Belding.


He says it appears a lot of work has gone into this year’s election, judging by the level of security at the polling station.


The registration process isn’t impressing everyone, though.


Colleen Carriere of Prince Albert says she doesn’t know how the polling stations will be able to process everyone by the end of the day.


She says elders might become frustrated if they encounter the line-ups she had to deal with this morning.


The polls close at 7:00 this evening.


Five men are vying for the position of MNS president in today’s vote — Guy Bouvier, Philip Chartier, Robert Doucette, Alex Maurice and Johnny Melenchuk.


The top-ranking Metis official in the country says his organization will work with whoever is elected.


Clem Chartier is also encouraging Metis citizens to cast their ballot.


Chartier says people across the country will be watching this election closely to see what kind of turnout it generates.