George Gordon First Nation. Photo courtesy of Manfred Joehnck.

“It is now time to come together and work together,” said the new chief of the George Gordon First Nation.

John McNab was elected chief yesterday in a hotly contested by-election that was forced on the First Nation by the courts. Last October, a Court of Queen’s Bench judge threw out the entire 2016 election results over missing ballots, 17 for chief and 14 for council.

The Court of Appeal later ruled the council results could stand, but a new election had to be held for chief because the margin of victory was much smaller than the number of missing ballots.

In 2016, Bryan McNabb Jr. defeated John McNab by just eight votes. In yesterday’s by-election, John McNab was the clear winner, with a 93 vote margin of victory. Shawn Longman placed third.

There was also a by-election for one council position left vacant by a resignation in the summer of 2016. Byron Bitternose was easily elected, defeating four other candidates. Among them was Solomon Cyr, who placed third.

Cyr is the band member who launched the legal challenge of the 2016 election results. He congratulated both Bitternose and the new chief, John McNabb.

“This was a fair election and both deserve victory,” said Solomon Cyr. “The wisdom of the collective has spoken.”

The following are the unofficial results from yesterday’s by-elections:

John McNab – 352
Bryan McNabb Jr. – 259
Shawn Longman – 253

Byron Bitternose – 328
Danny Cyr – 209
Solomon Cyr – 185
Lyndon Oochoo – 63
Vera Ash – 62