Resignations force band byelections

Nee Tahi Buhn members to vote to fill vacancies

Two Nee Tahi Buhn band councillors have resigned, forcing byelections scheduled to be held in July.

Deputy chief councillor Cody Reid Jr., elected during regular band elections three years ago, and Patricia Prince, elected in a byelection when a previously elected councillor, Charity Morris, resigned in 2016, resigned the middle of May.

Several band officials also submitted resignations in May or otherwise had their employment end, including band general manager Debbie West.

In an email, Prince said she had no confidence in chief councillor Raymond Morris.

There are also reports of conflict and disagreements between Morris and the council and band staff.

Morris, in an email response to a query from The Lakes District News, declined to comment, saying events were “the internal business of the Nee Tahi Buhn nation [and] not for public display.”

A notice posted by the electoral officer appointed to conduct the elections indicates a nomination meeting is to be held June 28 with voting to take place July 19 either in person or electronically. There is to be no advance poll.

The last regular Nee Tahi Buhn elections were held in 2014 and the next regular elections are to be held this November.

But the recent resignations require byelections to be held because of the time gap until this November.

Prince did indicate that while she has no plans to run in the byelection, she will run in November.

One of the smaller First Nations in the region, the Nee Tahi Buhn band consists of approximately 150 members with perhaps a third living on the band’s reserve lands on the Southside.

The Nee Tahi Buhn band does receive an annual budget from the federal government for general governmnet, health and education services as well as a share of provincial forest revenue from activities on its traditional territories.

It is also in line to financially benefit through job and business opportunities and direct payments from both the provincial government and companies should two natural gas pipelines be built to feed two planned liquefied natural gas plants at Kitimat. Both pipeline routes would cross through Nee Tahi Buhn territory.

From the province, the Nee Tahi Buhn could receive more than $2 million based on construction of TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline which would supply the planned LNG Canada plant at Kitimat.

The Nee Tahi Buhn also has a benefits ageement with TransCanada which calls for annual payments.

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