THUNDER BAY – Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation (LDMLFN) Chief Whitecloud (Judy Maunula) and Council have responded to allegations made regarding Band Status Cards in the 2015 election process in a statement released:
“We are committed to the integrity of our election process and take any allegation of misconduct and wrongdoing very seriously. Our election was conducted by an Electoral Officer who is independent of the First Nation. It is the responsibility of the Electoral Officer to carry out election procedures in accordance with our Custom Election Code.
Our LDMLFN Band members were aware of the requirement to produce a valid status card at the time of voting as this has been the practice for our First Nation in all of our past leadership reviews and elections. Our election process is a lengthy one, lasting 3 – 4 months in total. Our members had both the time and opportunity to renew their cards as there are numerous AANDC offices and outlets all across Canada available to get this done. Tribal Councils are also able to assist Band Members by providing the services of AANDC certified Issuing Officers that may travel to any number of locations throughout the region to issue cards.
Our Election Code clearly states that no Band assets, equipment or funds can be used by any candidate for campaigning purposes. At no time during this process were Band funds used for any of the candidates’ campaign activities. All candidates must use their own resources in their respective campaigns. Candidates are also free to choose whom they wish to direct their campaign efforts on and are not violating any terms of our Election Code in doing this.
The statements made in the allegations also question the integrity of the Bimose Tribal Council and its staff. Bimose employs highly skilled, competent employees and maintains the highest level of standards to ensure all of its Member First Nations receive quality services that are in compliance with the policies and procedures of the organization and AANDC requirements. We feel that these statements have placed this organization and staff member under unnecessary stress and we hope to see it resolved as soon as possible.
These allegations will be dealt with by the Appeal Process as outlined in our Custom Election Code by an independent Adjudicator. We are ever confident that these allegations will be proven false and misleading to our First Nation membership and to the public and the election results will be upheld.”