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The right to self-determination is determining, designing and eventually implementing improved leadership process is important for Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation. The process of amending the Election Act of 1994 must be done one year prior to an election. Therefore the deadline to amend is April 17, 2014. Work in amending the current Election Act is important to good government, strong accountable leadership and provide guidance to future generations.
PBCN is one of the biggest bands in Saskatchewan with a population of over 10000 members, who are scattered in 8 or more communities. There are members who reside in different reserves, towns, cities and other countries. The geographical traditional territory of PBCN is a vast area that it takes a whole day to travel from one community to the other.
The complexity of conducting elections has increased significantly in recent years, due to increased members, vast traditional area, mobility of members, outdated election processes, and limited financial resources. The Election Act of 1994 no longer serves its purpose in holding fair elections. Election Act of 1994 has many inadequate issues and a few to mention are as follows;
- No procedures for safe and secure handling of ballot boxes
- No training for election staff and security.
- No clear procedures clearly stating Residency of members and where to vote
- No one to police the election act and elected leadership
- No appellant was ever successful; therefore Appeal process need to be amended
- No clear and exact date for chief and council to relinquish their positions
- Need to update so technology can be utilized. Computers for monitoring voters,
campaigning and computers can be used for advance polls. And give every
member wherever they live or reside a right to vote.
- All candidate requirements to run for office such as CPIC.
- Elders Council needs to be amended and implemented
- Term of office has remained at 2 years.
In 2003 and 2004, work in amending the Election Act was undertaken by staff and Cree speaking lawyer. PBCN membership consultations were done through utilization of community committees, and staff for many months. Membership at the time did a remarkable job in updating the 1994 Band Custom Election Act. However the proposed 2004 Election Act did not pass the referendum process with 2 communities rejecting the new election act.
In August of 2013, Chief and Council acquired funding from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to begin the process again of amending the existing Election Act of 1994. Due to limited funding from the AANDC, Chief and Council have suggested the work done in 2003 and 2004 should be revisited and taken back to the membership for further consultations and amendments.
The work had started in early September of 2013 in amending the Election of 1994. The first round of community meetings with the membership were completed on October 23, 2013. It is expected the process is fast paced in order to meet the deadline for amendment. A tentative date to hold a band wide referendum is January 30, or early February 2014.
The governance workers are in the middle of the amending process which requires the use of technology to consult and seek input from membership. Information gathered from Facebook, PBCN webpage and the on line survey will be analyzed and certain recommendations will be used in drafting the new election act. After this process, the first draft of the 2014 Election Act will be produced after it has been reviewed by the PBCN lawyer. The last round of consultations community meeting will take place in early December 2013.
The governance team is seeking your input on some of the proposed changes, please be respectful and refrain from making personal attacks, because it serves no purpose for the staff, please be courteous and use respectful language. If your comments or suggestions are disrespectful your contributions will not be analyzed. We are here to improve the overall election governance process and thank-You for your input.