Wrigley chief and council removedPehdzeh Ki votes no confidence in chief and remainder of council
Northern News Services
UPDATED: Monday, May 16, 2016
PEHDZEH KI FIRST NATION/WRIGLEY
Members of Pehdzeh Ki First Nation voted to remove their chief after a vote of non-confidence during a public meeting held May 7.
Draft minutes of the meeting obtained by News/North show 30 band members attended, including council members and band staff.
Nineteen members voted in favour of dissolving the present chief and council, effective May 7, with one member abstaining and none voting against the motion. An emergency public meeting held the evening May 10 allowed councillors Albert Clillie and Raymond Pellissey to stay on as signing authorities so the band could continue with payroll and bill payments.
At that meeting, the band also appointed Ernie Moses and Amber Clillie as interim council members so quorum could be met.
The non-confidence vote comes one month after three of the band's six councillors resigned from their positions. Kyle Clillie, Elsie Hardisty and George Moses all resigned in late March, leaving Albert Clillie, Maurice Moses and Raymond Pellissey left on council, along with Chief Darcy E. Moses.
Reasons for their resignations were never given to the newspaper.
All councillors and the chief were elected or re-elected to their posts on Aug. 5, during the band's most recent election.
During the May 7 meeting, band members voted in favour of holding a byelection for the position of chief and six councillors. Nominations for that were expected to run from May 9 to 13, with election day set for May 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
According to the minutes, members discussed the roles and responsibilities of community leaders, as well as the need for leaders who can participate, work together and put the future of the land and children at the forefront.
Darcy E. Moses was chief in 2009, when 23 band members voted to remove chief and council as well as the band's senior administrative officer.
However, at that time, the vote was not considered binding because the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada continued to recognize the chief and council due to the fact Pehdzeh Ki First Nation did not have a ratified code to allow for non-confidence votes.
Pehdzeh Ki First Nation elects its leadership under a custom community system rather than rules outlined in the Indian Act.
When contacted for comment on the May 7 meeting, department spokesperson Valerie Hache said the department had not received any information concerning the non-confidence vote.
"The department does not have a role to play in determining the validity of any governance actions taken under a community's own rules or processes," she stated in an e-mail.
"The role of the department is limited to recording the results of an election or changes in leadership as they are reported by the First Nation."
In response to a question on whether Pehdzeh Ki First Nation currently has a code in place to allow for non-confidence votes, Hache directed questions to the band.
When contacted for comment, band manager Gaylene Moses declined to answer questions about the public meeting or the vote.