A dispute over the title of chief in the Montreal Lake Cree Nation appears to have ended.
The Montreal Lake Cree Nation Appeal Tribunal released its decision on Jan. 30 regarding the position of chief.
Frank J. Roberts, who was acclaimed as chief in a byelection hosted on Nov. 21, 2017, will retain the title of chief of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation. According to the Cree Nation's Election Act, the tribunal's decision is final and binding.
“I would like to thank the members of our First Nation, our partners and our band employees for their patience as everyone worked through the entire process,” Roberts said, adding the election process outlined by the Cree Nation's Election Act was in place to deal with disputes fairly and equitably.
As the appeal process had concluded, Roberts declared a “new era” for the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, with a new vision for band membership.
Initially, Roberts was disqualified from an election the Cree Nation hosted in the spring of 2017. He filed an appeal into his disqualification, which was upheld by a tribunal decision issued in November of that year.
Chief Electoral Officer Clifford Bird, who oversaw the first election, called for a byelection where three candidates, including Roberts, declared their intentions to run for the position of Chief. Roger L. Bird, and Joyce McLeod withdrew from the running leaving Roberts the sole candidate.
According to the Cree Nation's Election Act, when a candidate for chief or council runs unopposed, they can be acclaimed into their respective positions. Roberts was acclaimed by the electoral officer and sworn in as chief of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation on Nov. 22, 2017.
The appeal tribunal decision which was released today declaring Roberts chief was filed by Edward Henderson, the former chief of the Cree Nation. He argued Roberts was not an eligible candidate in the spring 2017 election, and due process was not followed in the call for a byelection. Roberts previously told paNOW Henderson and his legal team conceded he had no arrears during the spring 2017 election when he declared his candidacy the first time around.
paNOW reached out to Mark D'amato, who previously disputed the byelection process for comment on the appeal tribunal decision. This article will be updated to reflect any response to the most recent decision.
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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