PBCN Members Voice Concerns with Ratification Vote

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 at 12:57



Members of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation are set to vote on a revamped election act tomorrow, but at least a couple of members have some reservations about the act.


Pelican Narrows residents Maurice Bear and Lester Gardiner say of the 68 recommendations put forward in community consultation meetings, only a small fraction ended up in the final draft of the election act.


Gardiner says one of the recommendations that wasn’t accepted would have made chiefs directly responsible for the band’s financial situation.


Gardiner also wonders if Cree speakers have had the specific wording of the document translated for them and if band members know enough about what they are voting on tomorrow.


The band says it’s distributed 13-hundred copies of the act to all of the band’s reserve and urban communities, and says band members have been given at least two weeks’ time to thoroughly read and understand the changes being proposed.


Chief Ron Michel says the revised act clarifies conflict of interest guidelines and will make band leaders more accountable to band members.


The revised act also adds new council seats in Sandy Bay, Deschambault Lake and Southend.


As well, it stipulates that band elections be held every 3 years, instead of the 2-year terms in place right now.


Michel says elected leaders need the extra year to be more effective in office.


The election act will be ratified with a simple majority, and that’s why both Gardiner and Michel say it’s important for band members to vote tomorrow.