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Election postponed as Saskatchewan Métis deal with quorum concerns


By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor SASKATOON







Robert Doucette is confident that Metis Nation-Saskatchewan members will push their regional representatives hard enough to ensure that an overdue election for a new executive will take place.

“I believe that we will have quorum at the Métis Nation Legislative Assembly (MNLA) because Métis citizens want an election. I believe enough people have been telling their leaders to come to this meeting, to come to the MNLA, let’s get on with business, that’s what’s been happening…. At this point, our leaders are hearing that voice loud and clear,” said Doucette, president of the MN-S.

The election had originally been set for May 30, but court action brought by MN-S members Bob McLeod and Ron Lamabe caused that date to be set aside.

Everyone is tight-lipped as to why the Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench was pushed to make the ruling on whether the date had been set correctly.

“This is internal stuff and I’m not going to say anything more about it,” said McLeod, who did offer that he was not pleased by the court’s decision to postpone the election. McLeod serves as director for Western Region 2A.

For his part, all Doucette would say is that “I haven’t even read the final outcome” of the decision.

“I’m not making comment on the court application. I’m looking forward,” he said.

The issue at hand is the lack of quorum at provincial Métis council meetings, as well as Métis Nation legislative assemblies since Doucette became president in 2007.
When May 30 was set as the date for the general election, the Legislative Assembly did not have quorum. However, the election date was set nonetheless.
But the lack of quorum should not have impacted the election date, said Helen Johnson, eastern region 2 director.

“I told the people (in November) that this election was set in 2007. I don’t know why they were concerned about an MNLA or an (annual general assembly),” said Johnson, who has been a vocal critic of Doucette.
Doucette said the Constitution stated the term of office for those elected in 2007 would be held until an election May 2012, however it did not specify an exact date in May.

In a news release issued by Doucette on April 25, he said, “The Court made its determination on procedural ground that no other parties were served with the application. At present the only manner in which this problem can be resolved is to suspend the election….”

Up until the April 25 court decision, the MN-S had continued on its election path although Chief Electoral Officer Annette Yarmovich, who had been hired in March, admitted “there are some concerns… but we’re moving ahead as best we can.”

She said all MN-S members, even those who have yet to get their names on the Métis citizenship registry, were eligible to vote.

On May 9 the Provincial Métis Council met and had quorum. It set June 16 and 17 as the dates for the MNLA/AGA to be held in Prince Albert. The council also appointed a committee “to ensure all the tasks facilitating staging an MNLA/AGA will be in place to ensure the meeting will go smoothly,” said Doucette in a news release.
At the two-day event, the date for the next election will be set and a chief electoral officer chosen.
President, vice-president, secretary and treasurer are up for election, as well as 12 area directors. Doucette is seeking a second term in office.