It is my pleasure to bring Christmas greetings on behalf of Council and Staff at Qalipu First Nation. I pray that this season will be marked by many special moments of sharing and time together with family, friends and loved ones.
By now many of you will have heard the news regarding the Service Members Agreement which allows for reconsideration of the applications of members from the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and veterans of both.
Service members who applied for membership within the Qalipu Band were denied based on the group acceptance criterion. This essentially means they had a difficult time showing a connection to their Mi’kmaw community of origin. Since we know that these service members were required to leave home in service of their country, we are pleased to be able to have come to this Agreement with Canada that gives honour to the special place they hold in Mi’kmaw culture and allows for reconsideration of their applications.
After four years of engagement and negotiating with Canada since we first announced exploratory discussions in November 2018, I don’t want to waste any more time. We will bring this Agreement to our membership for a ratification vote without further delay. The decision to accept this Agreement is in your hands. Your majority yes vote will put the Agreement into action.
On December 16, the seven-day voting window will commence. Voting-age members of Qalipu First Nation will receive a voter information package either by email or in their mailboxes. We expect these packages to begin arriving around the 13th of December. As with our last Qalipu Council election, voting will be done from the comfort of your home either on the phone or on your computer.
If you do not receive a voting package, please be sure to call the Helpline at 1-888-281-8683.
My heart continues to be with all those who were denied membership in our First Nation. Not only service members, but also those original members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians especially those who voted to create our Band in the first place. Know that the negotiating doesn’t stop here. We can celebrate together this small victory in honour of our service members and veterans and know that tomorrow is a new day to pursue unity for Qalipu First Nation.
Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year.