Friday is band council election day at Poundmaker First Nation.
Democracy appears alive and well on the First Nation that has been beleaguered with municipal strife and bad press for the past couple of years. There are 24 names on the ballot for council and four for chief. That there is lively competition for the seats is no surprise, as an attempt to oust the current council by imposing results of a “band custom” process in 2010 failed to make an impact.
The problems within the outgoing administration came to light in court, when nine individuals, some of them officials of the band, were charged with misappropriation of Treaty Land Entitlement funds. Several of those, including chief Duane Antoine have pleaded guilty to various charges and await sentencing.
Time for a new start, we might think, but those of us on the outside looking in can only scratch our heads at some of the names on the ballot for re-election. These include Antoine for chief and Colin Favel and Brian Tootoosis, two of those who have admitted to stealing from the band, for seats on council.
That individuals convicted of stealing money from the people they were elected to represent can actually stand for re-election is puzzling in itself. If they happen to garner adequate support to return to their former posts, the head scratching can begin in earnest.