Judge Rules for New Election in Muskrat Dam
THUNDER BAY – On April 7, 2016 the Honourable Madam Justice Strickland issued her decision on Beardy v. Beardy, 2016 regarding the federal court application for judicial review of the electoral procedures and outcomes of the September 15, 2015 Muskrat Dam First Nation election whereby the position of Chief was declared as a win by acclamation.
At issue was the decision of the Election Committee to decide who could or could not stand for election despite a candidate’s clear support in the nomination process by Muskrat Dam First Nation voting members. The Election Committee decided on its own to “disqualify” Chief Gordon W. Beardy from renewing his political mandate via a general band membership election.
In her decision, the Honourable Madam Justice Strickland states that the September 15, 2015 Muskrat Dam First Nation election results are quashed:
 However, as discussed above, regardless of its frustration, the Election Committee was required to exercise procedural fairness, and it failed to do so. As a result, the outcome of that election was potentially significantly compromised. Thus, I have concluded that the September 15, 2015 election results are to be quashed.
Source: Beardy v. Beardy, 2016 FC 383 (CanLII), par. 152,
The Honourable Madam Justice Strickland has also determined that the Chief and Council elected under the now quashed results are to remain in office and a new election to be held within six months of the federal court decision date of April 7, 2016.
THIS COURT’S JUDGMENT is that
- The application for judicial review is granted;
- An Order in the nature of certiorariis granted and the September 11, 2015 decision of the Election Committee to disqualify Gordon Beardy as a candidate nominated for election, the election held on September 15, 2015, and BCR150916A are quashed and set aside;
- It is declared that the 2005 Code remains in force;
- My Order of certiorariis hereby stayed for six months from the date of this decision to permit the MDFN time to make any amendments to the 2005 Code concerning the role of Elders on election committees and the disqualification of nominated candidates and such other amendments as may be deemed necessary and to have such amendments effected by the MDFN in accordance with the amending requirements of the 2005 Code;
- An Order in the nature of mandamus is granted and the MDFN shall hold an election to select a Chief and Councillors six months from the date of this decision. The new election committee effected for that purpose shall be constituted of Band members other than those, who, at any time, were Election Committee members in connection with the September 15, 2015 election;
- The current Chief and Council comprised of Stan Beardy, Roy Fiddler, Charlie L. Beardy, John L. Morris, and Olivia Duncan shall continue to hold office and shall continue to run the affairs of the MDFN in the normal course. Current Chief and Council shall be paid for their positions from September 15, 2015 until the new election has been conducted. In the event of any interim resignations, payment for the position resigned will cease as of the effective date of resignation, which shall not exceed a period of thirty days from the date of resignation;
- I will remain seized of this matter until the results of the new election and any resulting appeals have been concluded;
- As to costs, at the hearing of this matter it was agreed that submissions on costs, jointly agreed if possible, would be made subsequent to the issuance of this decision. However, in the circumstances and given my decision, I have determined that it is appropriate that each party shall bear its own costs.
Gordon W. Beardy is pleased with the decision, “It has been my sincere intention through this court process to ensure that the rights of all band members of Muskrat Dam First Nation are protected and that the high standard of leadership, accountability and transparency be maintained for our band members both on and off reserve. During my tenure as Chief of Muskrat Dam First Nation – I have from time to time sought a renewal of my political and leadership mandate by stepping down and standing for election. I have no qualms about taking the vote back to the people whom I represent”.
“In any case, for the upcoming Muskrat Dam First Nation Chief and Council election set for October 7, 2016 and the proper informed band membership ratification of the Muskrat Dam First Nation election code changes required by the Honourable Madam Justice Strickland’s decision, this process must include all of our members and be carried out in the spirit of cooperation and transparency.”
For a full copy of the Honourable Madam Justice Strickland’s judgement on Beardy v. Beardy Visit: