No drugs, booze bribes in Natuashish vote, leaders pledge

Community leaders in Natuashish are trying to put a stop to vote buying, as residents prepare to elect a new leadership in two weeks.
Community leaders in Natuashish are trying to put a stop to vote buying, reports Kate Adach 2:02

Community leaders in Natuashish are trying to put a stop to vote buying. 

Residents will be voting for a new leadership in two weeks, and there is a solid effort to clean up this campaign.

In past elections, there have been allegations that some candidates used alcohol and drugs to influence voters. 

Current band councillors have made a vote of their own — to clamp down on campaign bribes. 

The council has signed a resolution declaring this election be free of drugs, alcohol and other bribes. 

Councillor Gregory Rich said candidates who don't comply will be disqualified.

"I'm hoping that this will lead to a sober leadership and the leaders be more effective in dealing with the issues that Innu are facing, like gas sniffing," said Rich.

"And you know, in order for us to get better, we need people who are sober, we need people who are committed in addressing the issues."  

Rich said in past elections, even he was offered liquor — and the alcohol influenced his vote. He's sober now and is trying to keep this election clean.

"I feel very relieved about it, that we have a sober election. And you see, when people are sober, they make good decisions. And when they're under the influence, they make bad decisions." 

Mark Nui. (CBC)

Although Natuashish is technically a dry community, some grapple with addictions. 

Mark Nui of the Innu Nation calls the resolution "a relief" for many, who see it as a key step to supporting health and recovery in the community.

"With this move, I'm hoping that anyone in the community that is on the path of healing will have that, will continue to do their healing, without interference by the election," Nui said.

Enforcing the no bribery rule could be a challenge, but the council hopes residents will speak up if they observe drugs or alcohol being used to influence voting.  

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