Councillors Removed By Membership

Salt River First Nation administration building. (Photo: CBC)

Members of the Salt River First Nation (SRFN) have voted overwhelmingly to oust two councillors from their positions.

On the evening of October 23, members of the SRFN gathered at Roaring Rapids Conference room to decide the future of councillors Brad Laviolette and Kendra Bourke. Many felt there was a need to clarify the leadership positions.

On September 19, SRFN members elected a new chief and council. Toni Heron was elected as Chief, beating her nearest competitor by 23 votes. Six people were acclaimed as councillors, including Laviolette and Bourke.

Yet three days after being sworn into office on October 3rd, and holding their first meeting, Laviolette introduced a motion to remove Heron from office. The motion was supported by 4 of the 6 councillors. The motion also appointed Laviolette as Acting Chief.

A Special Meeting was called for Oct 18th, to remove Heron as Chief. But that meeting was called off. In the meantime, Laviolette changed the locks on the First Nation administration building, blocking community members and Heron access to the building.

Members of the SRFN wanted to end the confusion about who was chief as well as finding out why Brad Laviolette and Kendra Bourke introduced the motion of non-confidence. But neither councillor showed up to the meeting. As a result, members removed them from office.

There’s no word on when a by-election will be held to fill the now vacant council positions. Toni Heron is awaiting word on when she will be reinstated as Chief.