The Penticton Indian Band has announced the candidates vying for five open council positions in its upcoming byelection on Jan. 30, 2020.
The nomination meeting was held on Dec. 19, with 15 candidates nominated: Julia Barber, Jonah Cramer, Kevin Gabriel, Lesley Gabriel, Carlene George, Lavern Jack, Victoria Jaenig, Dolly Kruger, Fred Kruger, Vivian Lezard, Joan Phillip, Inez Pierre, Charlene Roberds, Laurie Wilson (Cerenzie)and Joshua Wilson.
The vote will be held at the band hall and polls will be open between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Votes will be counted immediately after the polls close and the results announced following the count.
Voters may vote either in person at the poll or by mail-in ballot. Voters wishing to vote by mail-in ballot should contact electoral officer Marcus Hadley as soon as possible to request a mail-in ballot package.
In mid-December, Penticton Indian Band members voted to hold a new byelection after the Federal Court of Canada supported a byelection appeal.
On Nov. 22, 2017, the band hosted a byelection to fill the vacant seats, with Inez Pierre, Windwalker Alec, Ernest Jack, Frederick Kruger and Joan Philip being elected. Alec has since stepped down from his council seat.
The membership met for a closed meeting at the band’s community hall on Dec. 12 to cast anonymous ballots either in favour or against hosting a new byelection, according to a release from the band.
This comes after a recent Federal Court of Canada decision ruled that the band must consider a previously rejected appeal by member Jacqueline McPherson.
In the court judgement that was made on July 7, 2019, it explains that McPherson mailed her notice of appeal with supporting materials to the electoral officer at the time, Julia Buck, at the band’s administration office and her place of employment at Westbank First Nation on Dec. 20, 2017 – about one month after the election was held.
A copy of the notice was also hand-delivered the following day to the administration office, but not all of the materials were properly forwarded by email to Buck that same day.
In the judgement, it is stated that Buck told McPherson she would not be considering her appeal at that time as it was not forwarded to her registered mail address at the band’s electoral office, but “on cross-examination, Buck admitted that there was no way for an elector to learn of the existence of the UPS box address other than by personally asking her to provide this information.”
The reasons for McPherson’s appeal of the 2017 byelection are not known at this time, but following the Federal Court decision, the Penticton Indian Band appointed Marcus Hadley as the new electoral officer who would oversee the appeal process.
In November, Hadley issued a release to the membership that as the first step in the appeal process, he provided the council members with a copy of McPherson’s appeal and they were required to vote on whether or not they consider the byelection valid.
The council was unable to agree, so the appeal process continued to the next step which was providing a non-confidence motion form to voters that required a minimum of 15 signatures to move forward to the next step of voting on whether or not to host a new byelection.
Hadley subsequently received the completed non-confidence form so the meeting to vote on hosting a new byelection was called for Dec. 13.
In total, 167 ballots were cast at the meeting with 95 in favour of a new byelection being held.