Judge rules Key First Nation election null
A federal judge has ruled the results of an election on Key First Nation null after the voting was marred by controversy.
Evidence of vote-buying has left the First Nation without any leadership. Justice Barnes ruled the evidence against former Chief Rodney Brass and three of his council members was enough to call for a new election.
“There is clear evidence of widespread and openly conducted vote-buying activity being carried,” the judge said in a written statement.
Clarence Papequash was one of the applicants in the case. He stepped down as chief of the First Nation in 2014 amidst drug and weapons allegations. Those turned into charges in 2017.
“I’m hoping to see new leaders in the community, things start happening again,” Papequash told CTV News. “We need jobs, we need houses here.”
Papequash said the decision was a long time coming. One of the issues was a lack of communication.
“I always say if we all come together and talk, it wouldn’t be happening like this,” he said. “But, we never ever sit down and talk about the real issues. It’s like they’re always swept under the rug.”
Meanwhile, others were happy with the direction things were going under the most recent council.
“This leadership was really on a move for the people and the elders and the kids,” said Randy Friday, who works on Key First Nation.
Friday was working with the former leadership group on several projects, including a new convenience store and a new recreation complex.
“We’re still going to pursue these projects, because they have to be done,” he said. “No matter who’s in here, the people on this reserve, they just want leaders who want to strive for their community.”
An email from Indigenous Services Canada said officials are now taking the necessary steps to identify and appoint an electoral officer to conduct a new election.
CTV News reached out to the former councillors and chief, but did not receive a response.
Based on a report by CTV Yorkton's Stefanie Davis