Nfld. & Labrador

Brendan Mitchell re-elected as Qalipu chief

Mitchell will spend another three years leading the band, after winning Tuesday's election.

Mitchell says enrolment will be key topic in next term

Brendan Mitchell became chief in 2015. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Brendan Mitchell will continue to lead the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band for the next three years, after being re-elected as chief Tuesday night.

"I really appreciate the tremendous support," he said the morning after his win, crediting the work he did in his previous term as helping him secure his next one.

Mitchell secured 2,500 votes for the win, almost double the total for the first runner-up, Hayward Young. Mitchell became chief in 2015, and is the second person to hold the title since the band's inception in 2011. 

He also acknowledged that the 2018 election process was far from smooth, with large crowds causing long waits at polling stations Tuesday and problems with mail-in ballots.

"We have some homework to do with respect to the next election," he said

A referendum ballot included in the election passed, meaning the next election will include telephone and internet balloting.

Enrolment controversy

Mitchell acknowledged in his term ahead, he has a lot of work left to do on the most contentious issue facing Canada's youngest First Nation: enrolment.

After years of controversy, the enrolment process ended on April 30. The final list of people belonging to the band was completed in July, and those who lost their status notified by the end of August.

But Mitchell said there are repercussions from that he'll need to deal with.

"There are a lot of outstanding issues, a number of court cases outstanding, and a lot of conversation yet to be had with the government of Canada, regarding our people and those that had been displaced," he told CBC Radio's Corner Brook Morning Show.

We have to get back to the table with the government of Canada.- Brendan Mitchell

Mitchell hinted at the possibility of of re-examining the enrolment process, and "maybe taking control of our own membership," he said.

"We have to get back to the table with the government of Canada."

Incumbents and newcomers

Newwcomers Randy Drover and Keith Cormier were elected vice-chiefs of the central and western regions, respectively. 

The nine ward councillors elected are:

  • Ivan J. White, St. George's.
  • Odelle Pike, Stephenville.
  • Ivan White, Flat Bay (acclaimed).
  • Jasen Benwah, Port au Port.
  • Bern White, Benoit's Cove.
  • Brian Dicks, Corner Brook.
  • Andy Barker, Exploits.
  • Frank Skeard, Glenwood (acclaimed).
  • Calvin Francis, Gander Bay (acclaimed).

Voter turnout for the election was 25.3 per cent, according to a Qalipu press release.

The new council will be sworn in after a 30-day appeal period.

With files from The Corner Brook Morning Show

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