Jacqueline Meeches and Krystal Fosseneuve
Regarding: Notice dated November 14, 2023
On November 14, 2023, a Notice was posted at the Long Plain First Nation Band office purporting to set dates for a “By-Election”.
Please note that the new Election Appeal Committee called for an “election,” and the Notice posted does not comply with the Long Plain First Nation Custom Election Act. We can only think that this is a result of your not being properly qualified as electoral officers.
Request for Resignation
Both of you, (Ms. Meeches and Ms. Fosseneuve) have admitted to misconduct during the 2022 election. Ms. Meeches has also admitted to not being properly trained for the role of electoral officer. These failures have caused significant amounts of money to be lost.
We observe that one of the grounds identified by the New Tribunal in their decision to call for a new election, is the lack of training and knowledge of the Electoral Officer.
Moreover, both of you have failed to act impartially and in accordance section 6.13 of the Long Plain First Nation Custom Election Act. We strongly believe that submitting affidavit evidence in favour of one of the candidates in the election appeal process was inappropriate. Your demonstrated lack of impartiality in any required upcoming election process can only damage the electoral process, should it go ahead.
Under the circumstances, we are requesting that both of you immediately resign from your roles as Electoral Officer and Deputy Electoral Officer. Doing so would prevent anyone from seeking your removal.
If you are concerned about the ability of the First Nation to conduct any required election, rest assured that the Chief and Council will forthwith be meeting to identify replacements. It is the intention of the Chief and Council to ensure that if any election process does take place, the election is supervised by well trained and impartial electoral officers.
Notice that a stay is being sought.
We also wish to make clear that a motion to the Federal Court of Appeal to stay the need for a new election process is to be filed within a day or two, together with a judicial review application to set aside the decision of the new Election Appeal Committee to invalidate the April 2022 election.
It might be that a new election is not required, and we hope to hear from the Court shortly. Spending the First Nation’s money and rushing to a new election instead of waiting for the Court to pronounce, hopefully within a week or two (or even within days if the Court agrees to accelerate the timelines for getting before a judge) on whether the election should be stayed pending the determination by the Court as to whether a new election is legally required, is contributing to the confusion of the electorate. We strongly ask you to await determination from the Court on the stay motion.
It is important that the determination of the issues facing our Nation proceed in an orderly fashion. The Court needs to determine the matter, and the rule of law supports permitting the Court the opportunity to do so before any election proceeds.
Deficiencies in the November 14, 2023 Notice
In the event you do not agree to resign, we are nonetheless of the view that you must conduct any election process in compliance with the Long Plain First Nation Custom Election Act. The Notice you posted on November 14, 2023 is defective in the following ways:
- A “By-Election” can only be called by the Tribal Government or the Electoral Ethics Commission: In accordance with section 4.9 of the Act, where there are not sufficient Council members in office to constitute a quorum to pass a Band Council Resolution to call a By-Election, the Electoral Ethics Commission shall call a By-Election. It is not within the powers of the Electoral Officer to call a By-Election. Additionally, the new Election Appeal Committee called for an “election”.
- No deadline for Declaration of Candidacy: In accordance with section 8 of the Act, and more specifically 1, the Notice of By-Election must specify the date for the Declaration of Candidacy forms to be submitted. Section 8.9 explicitly states that the Electoral Officer does not have authority or discretion to alter or waive the eligibility or Declaration of Candidacy requirements. You have improperly ignored this requirement.
- No Unofficial Notice of eligible candidates: In accordance with section 8.10 of the Act, the Electoral Officer must confirm the eligible candidates, and post an unofficial notice of eligible candidates seeking office for the Tribal Government in at least 3 conspicuous Long Plain First Nation businesses/entities and on social media two days after the Declaration of Candidacy deadline. The notice shall include a deadline date for Appeals of You have improperly ignored this requirement.
- No Official Notice of eligible candidates: In accordance with section 13 of the Act, the Electoral Officer’s must confirm the eligible candidates and post an official notice of eligible candidates seeking office for the Tribal Government in at least 3 conspicuous Long Plain First Nation businesses/entities and on social media seven days after the Declaration of Candidacy deadline. It appears you will be ignoring this requirement.
- No oath of office: In accordance with sections 6.11 and 6.16, the Electoral Officer and Deputy Electoral Officer shall swear an oath to uphold their offices in compliance with the You have improperly ignored this requirement.
In our view, any election cannot proceed until the above breaches of the Act are corrected.
If a new election is to take place, it must be in accordance with the First Nation’s chosen electoral process.
If you are not going to voluntarily resign and while you remain as Electoral Officer, we ask you to immediately take steps to correct these deficiencies. If you have questions or concerns about this process and next steps, please write to Council or request a meeting with us.