Candidate once deemed ineligible to run now acclaimed as chief of Montreal Lake Cree Nation

By Bryan Eneas
November 22, 2017 - 5:00pm

A candidate for the chief of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation who was once deemed ineligible to run for election has taken the nation’s headdress.

Frank J. Roberts was found ineligible to run due to alleged outstanding debts to the Cree Nation according to documents obtained by paNOW. After three appeals were filed into the first election earlier this year, Roberts’ application to overturn the results was deemed successful through an election appeals tribunal.

The appeals tribunal called for a byelection, which Chief Electoral Officer Clifford Bird announced on Sept. 27, 2017. The Cree Nation’s Election Act states the election appeals tribunal has the power to call for a byelection depending on results of any appeal.

Roberts was declared winner by acclamation by Bird in a notice posted in the community on Nov. 21. He is to be sworn in as chief on Nov. 22 at the Senator Allen Bird Memorial School gymnasium.

Roberts was one of three candidates who declared their intentions to run in the byelection for chief. After fellow candidates Roger L. Bird and Joyce G. McLeod submitted their requests to withdraw from election proceedings, Roberts was declared chief of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation.

According to the notice posted in the community by Bird, current chief and winner of the spring election Edward Henderson did not file a declaration of intent to run in the byelection.

Band Manger Mark D’amato previously told paNOW the byelection was illegitimate and he refused to provide funding to the electoral officer for the election.

D’amato argued the byelection did not follow the process outlined in the band’s Election Act of 2016 because the current chief and council did not file a Band Council Resolution calling for such an action.

The band manager stood by his prior statement and said legal recourse is being explored to nullify the results from the byelection.

“They keep posting these notices and it is going to be before the courts,” D’amato said. “This is a completely illegal process. I’d like to say it’s a coup attempt, but it’s gone beyond the attempt now. It is an actual coup.”


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