THUNDER BAY – The recent election results from Lac Des Mille Lac First Nation are being challenged.
Kathleen Sawdo, one of the candidates for Chief states, “The issue for LDML election results is that our own Custom Code was violated during the election process.”
“A large amount of membership were unable to vote, or their votes were rejected,” asserts Sawdo, who has taken the issue to the Ontario Courts.
“At particular issue was the requirement that a valid status card was needed in order to vote,” stated Sawdo. “In document sworn to by a band member, status cards were being issued in a hotel room in Thunder Bay, to enable members who would support the current Chief from LDML First Nation”.
“Further, based on a sworn statement of a band member, status cards were secretly issued out of a hotel room in Thunder Bay during the elections. This was arranged by the current Chief & Council, and was not made public to the general membership,” states Sawdo. “By arranging for a secret status card issuing day, the current Chief and Council violated our custom code, their oath of office and more importantly, they have violated the community they are supposed to serve equally.”
“The status cards were, according to the statement of the band member, were issued with a false issue date,” adds Sawdo.
“The best outcome from the challenge of the election would be for my community to have a new election called, where those involved in the corrupt practices were deemed ineligible to run for office again. Directing and supporting the issuing of altered status card (government issued id) out of a hotel room is simply not acceptable from those who are supposed to lead and represent our community.”
Sawdo states, “It’s important to note that Chief and Council violated our custom code and oath of office…..they swore an oath that “I will not use any such knowledge for my personal advantage or gain, and I will not allow my private interests to improperly influence my conduct in office; and, That to the best of my knowledge, I am not disqualified in any way from holding the office of Chief/Councillor, and I have not by myself or any other person, knowingly employed any bribery, corruption or intimidation to gain election to the office of Chief/Councillor. So help me, O Great Spirit/God.”
Lac Des Mille Lac First Nation has been contacted for comment and has not yet responded.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.