Controversial Alexander First Nation chief re-elected by 4 votes
Kurt Burnstick hangs on to power despite sex assault charge, unexplained payments
Chief Kurt Burnstick has hung on to power at the Alexander First Nation reserve by four votes despite charges of sexual assault and millions of dollars in questionable payments under his watch.
Kurt Burnstick won 171 of 470 ballots cast in Monday's election. Opponent Armand Arcand received 167 votes and Stanley Arcand Junior, 128.
Burnstick did not respond to CBC's request for comment.
Electoral officer Marvin Yellowhorn confirmed Burnstick's win. CBC confirmed the numbers through band members.
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A group argued rules forbidding off-reserve members from casting a ballot was discriminatory. About half of Alexander's 2,223 members live off of the reserve just northwest of Edmonton.
But on Saturday a Federal Court of Canada judge ruled that the election could take place, under the current rules.
"I'm in complete shock," said Brandy Poorman, an off-reserve member who was part of the push for a change to the rules. "I don't feel that he (Burnstick) should even be on the ballot.
"He is before the court on allegations of sexual assault. He represents our community and it's an embarrassment. I think he needs to deal with his issues in order to lead our community."
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In January, Burnstick was found not-guilty of sex assault. He's due back in court this spring on more sex assault charges.
In July Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada flagged that more than $5.3 million in band payments lacked sufficient documentation between 2010 and 2016, including two years under Burnstick's watch.
Other than the chief, all of the councilors elected in Monday's election are new. They are Cheryl Savoie, Anita Arcand, Chris Arcand, Sheldon Arcand, Marcel Paul and Joe Kootenay.