Waterhen Chief At Odds With New Band Council

Monday, January 17, 2005 at 15:45



The Waterhen Lake First Nation is the scene of some political turmoil today.


A peaceful protest involving 20 people is taking place outside the band office.


The protesters support Chief Sidney Fiddler, who’s examining his legal options today after four newly-elected band councillors voted in favour of a band council resolution that reinstates some former band employees.


Those employees were let go by Fiddler in November 2001 for allegedly taking part in a protest at the band office.


A federal adjudicator ruled in 2003 that this was not the case and that the employees were wrongfully dismissed. In addition to providing compensation for lost wages, the band was ordered to re-instate those workers — something Fiddler says he will never do.


The protesters prevented the fired employees from entering the band office and re-claiming their old jobs this morning, possibly because three other band members might be thrown out of work in the process.


Councillor Albert Fiddler is one of the councillors who voted to re-instate the workers. He says the band has been ordered to pay the workers for every day they’re not on the job, so they might as well be working.


Fiddler also says he isn’t sure what Chief Fiddler will be able to do about the situation, and feels the chief was outvoted fair and square.


Chief Fiddler says he will be able to comment on the matter tomorrow.