George Mackenzie 'excited and nervous' after being elected as Tlicho Grand Chief
Mackenzie wants to restore the public's faith in the Tlicho administration
Tlicho citizens have a new — and former — Grand Chief in George Mackenzie.
It's a role he knows well. Mackenzie was elected the first Grand Chief after the Tlicho gained self-governance in 2005 and he ran for the position in the past four elections.
"I'm feeling great, somewhat excited and nervous at the same time, knowing as of last night I will be in the public eye again," Mackenzie said. "But I am excited about the work that has to be done for the Tlicho nation, as well as any of our neighbouring people.
"In that way, I feel I'm up for the job."
He edged out longtime rival and Grand Chief incumbent Eddie Erasmus, as well as two other candidates, in Monday's election.
Erasmus stepped into the role after winning a by-election in 2011. He was re-elected in 2013.
Results from Monday's election:
- George Mackenzie 677
- Eddie Erasmus 486
- Charlie Nitsiza 227
- Russell Drybones 153
There were 2,459 eligible voters and 1,551 of those cast a ballot for a 63 per cent turnout.
Mackenzie thanked the other candidates for running, saying "it's not an easy task."
"Anybody that puts their name forward to run for election is a brave individual."
He said the priorities for his four-year term will be focused on improving the economy for the Tlicho people and creating jobs.
"We need to work together for the betterment of our young people's future," he said.
Restoring faith in the Tlicho administration
Mackenzie said he also wants to restore the public's faith in the Tlicho administration. The investment arm of the government is facing a lawsuit, including accusations of nepotism — that chiefs have been favouring family members for jobs.
"Things that need to be done to be corrected, to be improved-upon, that's what I will attempt to do," he said, adding he intends to hold a staff meeting immediately.
"I will tell them that we need to improve the image of the Tlicho government office. We have to look favourably on every Tlicho that walks through that door, equally, and give them equal opportunities.
"No one should be treated more special than the other person. A lot of people are looking for jobs."
Mackenzie also wants to call a special gathering of the communities as soon as possible to "get a clear mandate from our people how we should go forward."