FORT NELSON, B.C. – The federal government says that it does not recognize a petition by over 100 members of the Fort Nelson First Nation who signed a Petition of No Confidence against the Chief and Council of the Fort Nelson First Nation.
On Monday, the Ne Deh Kleh Newsletter’s Facebook page shared a copy of a letter containing the petition, which was sent to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett and signed by 112 members of the First Nation. In the letter, the members stated that they are concerned about not being properly consulted with from the Council, and that First Nation funds are being mismanaged.
The letter states that the petition was initiated by the purchase of the Fort Hotel in Fort Nelson on May 23rd by the Fort Nelson First Nation Chief and Council. According to the letter, the hotel was purchased for $862,000 without the discussion or consent of members.
Indigenous Services Canada spokesperson Martine Stevens said in a statement that the initiative cannot be recognized by the federal government since the Indian Act does not mention vacancies on the Council of a First Nation that occur as a result of a non-confidence petition.
“The Chief and Councillors of the Fort Nelson First Nation are elected under the electoral provisions of the Indian Act. Subsection 78(2) of the Act provides the conditions under which the position of chief or a councillor becomes vacant,” said Stevens in an email.
Stevens said that the term of the current Chief and Council of the Fort Nelson First Nation will expire on August 22nd, and that members will have an opportunity to select their chief and councillors through an election to be held in and around that date. She added that Indigenous Services Canada takes allegations and complaints regarding the misuse of public funds very seriously, and that the Department is currently reviewing the letter.