Doucette re-elected to lead provincial Métis
by Phil Ambroziak
It’s time to listen to the people.
That’s the plan newly re-elected Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) president Robert Doucette promises to adhere to during his second term as head of the provincial Métis council.
“We’re going to deal with a number of things this term, but first and foremost we need to roll up our sleeves, get into the communities and help rebuild the locals,” Doucette said. “We need to sit down, listen to the people and act on what they are saying.”
Key issues, he said, include adapting to federal funding cuts, the establishment of a harvesting agreement (which Doucette hopes to see in place by this spring), as well as placing a stronger focus on youth and education.
According to unofficial election results, Doucette earned 1,015 votes in the Sept. 8 election. Doucette, who first took on the role of MN-S president in 2007, also expressed his gratitude to the voters and his fellow candidates.
“I want to thank everyone who put their name out there – I know it’s not easy to run for office,” he said. “I also want to thank the Métis people for putting their trust in me for a second time. I’ve worked hard for them in the past, and I will continue to fight for them.”
Runners-up included Mavis Taylor with 548 votes, Maureen Belanger (468 votes), Raymond Laliberte (451 votes), Wayne McKenzie (355 votes) and Bryan Lee (68 votes).
Meanwhile, Gerald Morin (vice-president), May Henderson (secretary) and Louis Gardiner (treasurer) round out the new MN-S executive.
Regional representatives elected on Saturday include Derek Langan (eastern region 2A), Penny Hurton (western region 2A), Glen Hector McCallum (northern region 3), Darlene McKay (western region 2) and Meadow Lake resident Michael Bell (western region 1). Bell earned 117 votes, defeating fellow candidates Guy Touround (84 votes) and Wally Chatelaine (51 votes).
“We will have to wait until everything is set in place to see what happens, but the big fight is going to be getting things for the region,” Bell said. “I’d like to see us develop some kind of economic growth, so we’re not having to rely on the government all the time.”
Bell, who served as a local president for some time, has been a member of the Gabriel Dumont Institute board of directors for the past 11 years.
Doucette said he anticipates nothing but positive contributions from the newly elected regional representative.
“I congratulate him and think he will be a great addition to the provincial Métis council,” he said.
An estimated 3,000 Métis people exercised their right to vote on Sept. 8 and in advanced polls, but Doucette said there is always room for improvement.
“I think it’s a number we can build on,” he said. “We need to get into the communities and start dealing with the bread and butter issues, which will, in turn, generate more interest and more involvement amongst the Métis people.”