The Ts’il Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band) will be holding a re-election for the position of chief on April 14.
On March 18, the band held an all-candidates forum online in which the four candidates for chief, Clayton Charlie, Dan George, Albert L. Gerow and Ryan Tibbetts presented their platform as well as answered questions in the presence of moderator David Luggi.
Charlie, in his introduction said that one of the primary reasons for his running for the chief was because “it is time to think different, expect different and vote different.” He also said that the band was in a very critical time with little-to no knowledge of the dealings from the past several years, the finances are not in any form or order and that the staff and council are one and the same. He also said that he intended to eliminate nepotism and lateral violence.
Dan George, who was the former chief for the band for six years and councillor for four years said that during his time, the band held several meetings to keep the membership updated on the band activities. He also said that Ryan Tibbetts and George had fought for the Burns Lake Band in the past and would continue to do so. George said that he didn’t have one particular platform because “as a chief you have to deal with everything and have to have knowledge of everything and know how to solve these problems.” He also talked about his support for vaccination and mask mandates and said that he would continue to do what science tells him to do, to keep the community safe.
Albert L. Gerow said his primary goal was to provide an inclusive membership to all members of the band. He also said that many of the families living off reserves were not treated properly and weren’t even considered as band members.
“As former chief and current economic development officer, I have always treated everyone with dignity and respect and I believe everyone has something to offer to the band. I look forward to those opportunities,” he said adding that he also wanted to focus on education and economic development.
Ryan Tibbetts who was the fourth and final candidate for the chief election, started off wishing that “everyone stayed safe and kind during these stressful COVID-times.” Tibbetts said his platform was to have better strategic planning with more information and communication given out. He also said, as a band “we need to have a mission statement for the band, goals, action plans, values, we need to have a framework for improvement.”
The candidates also answered several questions from why the finances from the past two years were not posted on government website or the band’s website, to where the band’s website was. Members also asked those standing for chief, who were previously either chiefs or on the council that they had decades to do what they said they want to do now, so why wasn’t it done before and what will be different now.
Last year, the band held elections for chief and council in November and elected Ray Gerow as their new chief and Chickey Lorentz and Cecelia Sam as council. However, three months after the elections, Gerow stepped down, citing health reasons.
The process for the chief’s election was started soon after this. For the upcoming by-election, the all-candidates meeting was recorded and is available for viewing on the band’s social media page.
Luggi also confirmed that there will be mail-in voting as well as in-person voting for the upcoming election.