Smith’s Landing First Nation council vote overturned, Chief’s election unaffected

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In a July 28 decision, an arbitrator called for a new council election in Smith’s Landing First Nation after finding an error had disqualified one potential candidate, Skye MacDonald.

The error does not affect the recent election of Chief Gerry Cheezie.

The arbitrator, Donald Mallon, acknowledged the possibility that another council candidate might affect the election results. As a result, voters will have to return to the ballot to elect their council candidates.

The previous election saw four hopefuls win seats in a tight race of of eight candidates.

In his decision, Mallon said he was “mindful” that the First Nation has held three elections and three appeals in the past four years, which was “no doubt a significant expense for a small First Nation.”

“They will now endure the cost of another election,” he said, noting business of chief and council may have to be held until after the vote, which will be held on August 26.

“Good people who took the time and trouble to stand for election will have to do so again,” he said.