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Concerns raised about feds dealings on First Nations elections amid COVID-19 – Kamloops This Week

April 3, 2020

OTTAWA — The chief of an Ontario First Nation says her community is caught up in bureaucratic and “paternalistic” voting rules that could leave it with a governance gap in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Valerie Richer says her Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation was moving forward with its upcoming chief and council elections before the coronavirus hit Canada and was waiting for Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller to approve the community’s new election process.

The community ratified a new custom election code in January, which would allow the First Nation to decide for itself how a vote in the community will take place.

But Richer says Miller has not yet approved their new election code and that his office has instead suggested they postpone the vote and fill the resulting governance gap through an interim appointed council.

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