Qalipu First Nation Band Election 2018
October 24, 2018, Corner Brook—The Qalipu First Nation Band holds its election every three years to choose its governing body; a Chief, two Vice-Chiefs representing central and western Newfoundland, and nine Ward Councilors. Yesterday, thousands of members of the Band turned up at the polls to choose those leaders that will represent them for the next three years.
Brendan Mitchell was re-elected to lead the Nation as Chief. At the end of the night, Mitchell came out at almost double the votes received by his closest competitor, Hayward Young. Mitchell had received 2500 votes to Young’s 1290 votes. Clyde Russell, a third contender for Chief had a good showing at 867 votes.
In central Newfoundland, incumbent Joe Bouzanne was defeated by Randy Drover for the position of central Vice-Chief and in western Newfoundland, Keith Cormier went head to head with Andy Tobin for the position of western Vice-Chief, coming out on top at 1526-982 by the end of the counts. Edith Miller wasn’t far behind at 691 votes while Ron Jesseau, Blain Ford and Gary Greene who were also vying for the position had a good showing with several hundred votes a piece.
Incumbents Brian Dicks, Corner Brook Ward, Bern White, Benoit’s Cove Ward, Andy Barker, Exploits Ward and Jasen Benwah, Port au Port Ward were all successful in their bid to be re-elected for another term as Ward Councilor.
In St. George’s, newcomers Ivan J. White and Kenny Lee competed for the seat vacated by Arlene Blanchard White. Ivan J. White came out on top of that race 251-134. In Stephenville, for the seat vacated by former Ward Councilor Gerard Alexander, Odelle Pike came out on top in a race against former Councilor Joe White and newcomer Stefan Young. Odelle defeated nearest competitor Stefan Young at 354-305. White was not far behind at 238 votes.
In the Wards of Flat Bay, Gander Bay and Glenwood, the seats were won by acclamation. Of the three, Ivan White representing the Flat Bay Ward is new to the table while Frank Skeard of the Glenwood Ward and Calvin Francis of Gander Bay go on for their third consecutive term on the Qalipu Council.
Voter turn-out in this election was up from 2015 with a 25.3% voter turnout.
Keith Goulding, Band Manager, said that he was happy to see more members engaged but, that the Band can do better.
He said, “We are happy with another successful election, but we still hope to see more of our membership engaged in the process. With the amendment vote to change the way we administer elections, which passed last night with a 73% approval from membership who voted, we should see a more efficient, inclusive and effective election in 2021.”
Following a 30-day appeal period, per the Custom Rules governing Qalipu elections, the new Council will be sworn in and take office.