Yukon women's group 'shocked' by return of former Liard chief
Disgraced former Liard First Nation chief Daniel Morris should not seek his old job again, says the head of a Yukon women's group.
Morris served as chief of the Watson Lake-area First Nation from 2000 until 2003, when he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, confinement and weapons charges stemming from an incident in which he kidnapped and beat his estranged wife at gunpoint.
He was originally sentenced in 2004 to two years' probation, but an upper court changedthat to one year in jail.
Around that time, Morris was also removed from office. But election rules on the Liard First Nation allow anyone convicted of a crime toput their name forward for election two years after a conviction.
So on Monday, Morris's name was included in the First Nation's list of candidates sent out in advance of the Nov. 5 election for chief and council.
"I was actually shocked that he was allowed to run again, given the short time that he's been convicted of a horrendous crime," Lorraine O'Brien, president of the Yukon Aboriginal Women's Council, told CBC News on Wednesday.
"I don't understand the reason he was given another chance."
O'Brien said the ban for seeking office after a conviction should be extended to five years, adding that allowing Morris to run sends a message to women in Watson Lake that their safety is not important.
Morris is running against current Chief Liard McMillan —who was electedafter Morris left office—as well as two other challengers, David Dixon and Peter Stone.
In total, 35 people have put their name forward for chief and council positions.
Around the time of his conviction, it was also revealed that Morris and other members of his band had taken out personal loans. Morris owed the First Nation more than $100,000 when he was convicted.
However, Yukon RCMP decided not to lay charges related to the loans, as the First Nation was dealing with the matter internally.