Metis Ready To Proceed With New Election

Monday, April 23, 2007 at 15:26



The wheels are in motion to hold a new Metis Nation of Saskatchewan election in 2007.


Metis local presidents voted to accept the plan for a new vote during a legislative assembly in Saskatoon on Saturday.


Just a few hours later, grassroots Metis citizens endorsed the move at a general assembly to wild applause.


Both groups voted unanimously to accept the plan for a new election process laid out by an independent oversight committee.


Al Rivard, an area director in the North, says the news is a relief as Metis locals have been limping along for the past three years without any help from government, which cut off funding shortly after the controversial 2004 MNS election.


Robert Doucette, the man who was initially declared MNS president in the 2004 vote, says all the credit for this weekend’s developments should be given to grassroots Metis, who he says decided they weren’t going to put up with another controversial election.


Ray Laliberte, a member of the MNS executive, says the entire Provincial Metis Council supports the plan.


Laliberte admits compromises had to be made to get to this point, but he feels it’s been done in a way that respects Metis self-government.


He also noticed a strong sense of unity at this past weekend’s meetings, and he believes the Saskatchewan Metis community appears ready to put its past internal differences aside.


Metis National Council president Clem Chartier also commends everyone for overcoming their political differences to make sure the MNS stayed intact.


Chartier says the Metis National Council plans to hold its own election soon after the Saskatchewan vote.


Laliberte says once the 2007 election is in the books, the next big task will be to establish a new election and governance system that can be governed internally and without controversy.


Meanwhile, many Metis people that attended Saturday’s gathering indicated they would prefer to see a new vote held in September, not June as previously stated.


Central Urban Metis Federation president Bob McLeod says care must be taken not to rush the process. McLeod says June seems too soon, while July and August are not good months for an election.


The chief electoral officer for the vote will be David Hamilton, who says he will consider everything before naming a date.