The Acho Dene Koe First Nation (ADKFN) in Fort Liard has been ordered to scrap the preliminary results for the position of chief from its April 26 election and hold a new election.
Lawyer Garth Wallbridge, the one-man appeals committee for the First Nation’s election as per it’s custom election code, said in his decision – released publicly to ADKFN’s Facebook on Tuesday – the “election for Chief of the Acho Dene Koe First Nation of 2021 is hereby annulled.”
“A new election for chief of the Acho Koe Dene Nation be held with all due haste, as quickly as can reasonably be done,” he ordered.
In the new election, former chief of the First Nation Floyd Bertrand is allowed to run for the position, despite before being kept off the ballot for the April 26 election.
The appeals committee also said a new individual must be named as the Election Officer for the new election.
“I expect that the First Nation staff will use their best efforts to implement my orders above efficiently and effectively, but I cannot do more than encourage them to do so,” Wallbridge said in the document.
Last week, the First Nation’s new councillors who were voted in from the April 26 election were sworn in after some delays as well.
It then appointed Brenda Berreault to be the acting sub-chief until the position of chief is filled, something Wallbridge suggested happen in order to fill the “gap in governance” ADKFN is experiencing.
“With the new councillors in place the staff have a governing body to guide them. But the work to hold an election is complex and takes time and I encourage all parties to be respectful of all other parties as this process evolves,” he said.
The results for the position of chief were initially delayed because of two appeals that were being heard, one from James Duntra who was a contender in the election and one from Bertrand.
The preliminary results – which are now void – saw previous chief Gene Hope hold onto his position by just three votes over the nearest challenger Duntra.
More detail concerning Wallbridge’s reasoning behind the decision will come in the near future.