Former Moose Cree First Nation councillor explains mass resignation
Open letter by former council members accuses former Chief Patricia Faries of misconduct
In an open letter to the community, former councillors of the Moose Cree First Nation say they stepped down due to concerns over allegations of "misconduct" involving the former chief.
On March 21, nine of the 13 councillors resigned. When that many councillors step down at once, it prompts council to be dissolved. An interim management committee organized by the community's executive director is overseeing day-to-day operations until an election on July 2.
None of them had spoken with CBC about why they resigned, but a letter signed by them cited a lack of participation of council and membership in decision-making.
Some members of the community had speculated the resignation happened as the former chief was opposed to the proposed development of a niobium mine nearby.
CBC has made numerous calls to former Chief Patricia Faries for comment. None of them have been returned.
On Thursday, former councillor Thomas Cheechoo released a letter to the community from the former councillors. He says they didn't resign over the proposed mining development.
The letters states the resignations happened after concerns over alleged misconduct involving the former chief. No information is given about the nature of the alleged misconduct. CBC News has not been independently able to verify the allegations of misconduct.
The letter says the first complaint of misconduct involving Faries happened in Nov. 25, 2016. It says a formal investigation was done but the "former Chief decided not to take part." As a result, the investigation was based on the witnesses' account and revealed "there was misconduct on the part of the former Chief."
The letter also states the "person impacted by the actions of the former Chief has retained legal counsel" and a "lawsuit against Moose Cree First Nation" is anticipated.
A second case involving misconduct by the former Chief allegedly happened on Dec. 5, 2018, the letter says.
"This incident is nearly identical to the first and it came while the first misconduct was under consideration by council," the letter stated.
"The individual impacted by actions of the former Chief had served notice that a lawsuit will be filed against Moose Cree First Nation as represented by the former Chief."
The letter goes on to say there was another incident that caused "quite a commotion on social media."
"This particular incident, or any other incidences, are not noted here, as no written complaints were received."
The letter goes on to say councillors did express their concerns with the former Chief over the alleged misconduct. The councillors allege Faries' response was "something to the effect of 'pay me out and I will leave'." The letter states that would have cost the community more than half a million as her salary would have been paid out until the end of her term in August 2020.
As a result, the councillors say they "moved to dissolve council by way of multiple resignations."