Highway 7 entering Fort Liard. Charlotte Morritt Jacobs/APTN
Eugene Hope will once more become chief of the Acho Dene Koe Nation after receiving 149 of 318 votes in an election on Thursday, 59 more than his nearest rival.
James Duntra received 90 votes and Floyd Bertrand 75 according to a statement from electoral officer Graeme Drew posted to Facebook by the Fort Liard-based First Nation on Friday.
Drew separately confirmed the results to Cabin Radio by email.
Thursday’s election was more than two years in the making.
Originally scheduled for June 2020, the First Nation twice used pandemic-related federal legislation to postpone the election, then an appeal committee ordered that the results of an April 2021 election be scrapped.
Since then, a court has ruled the First Nation didn’t have the authority to postpone its election in the first place. An acting sub-chief was placed in charge pending the election’s eventual outcome.
Hope was the First Nation’s chief between 2017 and 2020. Bertrand, also a former chief, has pursued a lengthy court battle against the First Nation over both the delay to the electoral process and an initial decision to exclude him from the list of candidates because of an alleged debt. A one-person appeal committee later ordered that Bertrand be allowed to run.
Hope will be the First Nation’s chief until April 2024, when the next election is scheduled.