Pehdzeh Ki First Nation (PKFN) has filled available positions on its band council last week after holding a community meeting. However, who those councillors are and how they got their positions is unclear.
CKLB has heard through posts on social media and messages sent for background information that either two or three councillors, who were acclaimed their positions in October, resigned last week. The band office would not confirm this.
A notice was posted on Facebook last Wednesday stating the community was holding a meeting to discuss filling the open council positions.
After the meeting, CKLB reached out to the band office for details and was informed by email that all six positions on council are filled.
Members of the PKFN allege that a 1921 election code was adopted at this public meeting, which allows only those in attendance to be selected for council.
CKLB reached out to the band office to ask if the 1921 election code was used to fill the council positions, but never received a response.
In a Facebook message to CKLB, former Chief Maurice Moses says several Elders were unable to attend this meeting, therefore unable to provide input.
The Facebook post notifying the community about the meeting can no longer be found.
The situation is just the latest in a series of electoral issues in PKFN. CBC North reported that when Maurice was elected Chief in 2017, during his tenure six people resigning from their council positions on two occasions.
In October 2020, Lloyd Moses was acclaimed as the chief after Maurice, the only other candidate, was disqualified.
Several candidates running for council were also disqualified in October leading to only four of the six seats being filled.
The acclaimed members of council were Ernie Moses, Erwin Cli, Michael Pellissey and Mary Clillie. CKLB has not been able to confirm which of these members resigned last week.
When CKLB reached out to the band office for an updated list of council members, the messages went unanswered and calls were never returned.
CKLB reached out to the department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) for a list. Jay Boast, a spokesperson for the department, wrote in an email that MACA is “waiting to hear confirmation from the community itself before updating the information” it has.
William Olscamp, a spokesperson for Indigenous Services Canada, wrote in an email because PKFN conducts its elections under its own custom code, the ministry has no governance information. He added that the department doesn’t have a copy of the election code.
In terms of a solution to a disputed election, Olscamp said the ministry has no jurisdiction and that the community must turn to internal mechanisms to address the matter — or to the courts.