Waterhen chief re-elected

by Phil Ambroziak

Waterhen Lake First Nation chief Carol Bernard’s successful re-election campaign, which culminated in a Dec. 14 vote, was met with mixed emotions.

“It’s good to be re-elected for a second term, but the victory was bittersweet because we had three losses in our community within a week,” Bernard said.

In spite of the passing of the three band members – including band office night watchmen Joe Laroque, Bernard’s aunt, Dorothy Fiddler and Andrew McCallum, a young member who was living in Saskatoon – the chief said she remains optimistic more positive things are coming Waterhen’s way in the future.

“In my second term, I hope to finish what I started on some of my platforms,” Bernard said. “I want to work with the community, to unite the community and work toward prosperous economic growth while also achieving our vision of a better future.”

Bernard secured 262 votes, 38 more than fellow candidate Brenda Fiddler, who served as a band councillor last term. Successful council candidates following last week’s election were incumbents Ableheza Ernest and Ernie Fiddler, as well as Blaine Fiddler, Joanne Roy, Martin Laroque and former Waterhen chief Richard Fiddler, who is also the husband of the late Dorothy Fiddler.

“I think I have a good team,” Bernard continued. “It’s pretty equal. We have two returning councillors, a former chief, as well as people who are very knowledgeable in their respective fields. It is a diverse council.”

Bernard also expressed her gratitude to Brenda Fiddler for making the election a challenging one.

“She gave me the positive insight to try harder and made me realize things don’t come easily,” she said.

As for the passing of band members so close to the election, Bernard reiterated the sombre feeling shared throughout the community during what should be a positive and uplifting time of year. While her aunt had been ill for a time, Bernard said the loss of the other two were sudden and unexpected. Laroque was killed Dec. 8 in a single-vehicle crash near Pierceland. While details pertaining to the crash were unavailable, Bernard described Laroque as someone she worked very closely with.

“Joe was one of those people who always had a smile on his face,” she said. “He liked to joke – he was one of those people.”

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