The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nation is dismissing allegations of wrongdoing in the nomination of candidates.
Three men contesting for various leadership positions within the FSIN claim there were irregularities within the nomination process, which disqualified them from the election.
According to a written statement, Wallace Fox, Chris Merasty and Claude Friday launched an appeal to challenge the decisions of election officials.
The men said there were issues with how the FSIN Election Credentials Committee handled the applications of candidates.
Merasty, Fox and Friday said they submitted their candidate applications by the deadline of Sept. 28, but learned they weren’t included on the official candidates list once it was posted later in the evening on the day of the deadline.
“I want to ensure a fair and transparent process for all candidates seeking elections within the FSIN. I know that this problem that we have encountered needs to be addressed and it needs to be fixed,” Merasty said.
Merasty claims he was asked by the FSIN for a clarification document in regard to his criminal record check on the evening of Sept. 28, just hours after the deadline.
He said he sent the document in that evening, but his name was still left off the list of candidates later that night.
The FSIN Election Act lays out multiple requirements for candidates to be considered for the election, including needing to be 18 years or older and not having been convicted of a criminal offense within five years prior to the election.
The act also requires electoral officers to provide written notice of approval or refusal to prospective candidates after the organization’s credential committee’s meeting.
Collectively they said there was political influence from within the FSIN Executive. “There were discrepancies with how this election was handled by the FSIN Election Credentials Committee. There are allegations of interference and undue influence from the acting chief of the FSIN Clarence Bellegarde and incumbent FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron, a press release said.
Fox has written to appeal the decision of the Electoral Officers and Credentials Committee, citing in his appeal letter several contraventions of the FSIN Elections Act.
“Baseless allegations against the FSIN, the FSIN Credentials Committee, and the Electoral Officials have recently surfaced in the media by a few candidates that were deemed ineligible to run in the upcoming election,” said the FSIN in a statement.
The FSIN said accusations of misconduct my elections officials and the Credentials Committee are unfounded. The FSIN election is October 28.