Métis Nation-Saskatchewan election suspended

by Phil Ambroziak

A recent Court of Queen’s Bench ruling has effectively pressed the reset button on the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) election.

Originally scheduled for May 30, a provincial judge ruled April 25 the election would indeed be suspended.

The matter was initially brought before the court to determine whether or not the election was duly mandated since the 18-member MN-S government continually failed to meet an 11-member quorum at its regular meetings.

“It is with regret I must inform the public the upcoming May 30 MN-S election must be suspended,” confirmed MN-S president Robert Doucette. “An application was made before the Court of Queen’s Bench for confirmation the election date was properly set. The court made its determination on procedural grounds that no other parties were served with the application.”

Doucette went on to say the only way this matter can now be resolved is to call a Provincial Métis Council meeting to set a date for a Métis Nation Legislative Assembly, which in turn will restart the election process. The Provincial Métis Council is expected to meet May 9.

The court’s decision came the same day nominations were scheduled to open for the May 30 vote. Among those who was planning to put his name forward is Buffalo Narrows resident Raymond Laliberte. Although he was hoping to claim the role of MN-S president on May 30, Laliberte said he’s happy to see the election put on hold.

“I’m extremely pleased the Court of Queen’s Bench dismissed the application,” Laliberte said. “The primary reason the MN-S and its supporters took this to court was to have a judge approve the May 30 election. But, it was ruled the MN-S didn’t do its due diligence and they broke the rules – according to our constitution, we must have a set quorum.”

Laliberte also expressed his concern about reports stating the May 30 election would feature only 12 ballot boxes as opposed to one in every Métis community. He also said he has no problem with a new election date as far as his campaign plans are concerned.

“All Métis people want is to get to the election and choose their new leadership,” he said. “We just want to do things right.”

In spite of the recent turn of events, Doucette said he remains committed to the MN-S and the people it serves.

“Moving forward, I humbly ask the Provincial Métis Council members to attend the next PMC meeting to set a date for the Métis Nation Legislative Assembly,” he said. “The MNLA will confirm a date for an election and the hiring of a new chief electoral officer. As PMC members, local presidents, senators, elders and citizens, we need to pull together as a nation.”

It’s hoped the new election can be scheduled prior to June 27, as this is the date Doucette and the current MN-S government’s mandate comes to a close.

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