Second band election yields new results for Roseau River

Melissa Ridgen
APTN Investigates
A band council re-vote in Roseau River First Nation in Manitoba has a different outcome after an election held just days earlier was declared void by a federal court judge.

A new electoral officer, brought in from Pegius First Nation, held the new election on Sunday under police escort. Two of the candidates, Ken Henry and Gary Roberts won in Thursday’s election but were turfed from council after being declared ineligible by the new electoral officer.

Craig Alexander prevailed as as chief in both votes. Rachel Seenie, June Thomas and Keith Nelson won council seats along with incumbent councillor Zongiday Nelson.

Two elections in three days was a result of a court-challenge by out-going chief Alfred Hayden, who didn’t seek re-election. He asked a judge to remove the electoral officer chosen by custom council, arguing she had violated or wasn’t upholding, some of the election rules.

On March 7 a federal court judge granted the request and named a new electoral officer for the March 9 election. But Burke Ratte, an electoral-officer-for-hire from the Peguis First Nation, was turned away by members of the community and the election was held with the original electoral officer at the helm.

Hayden was back in court Friday to have the judge toss the results and have a new election with Ratte escorted by police onto the First Nation, located 90 kilometres south of Winnipeg.

Many council hopefuls ran on the promise to get Roseau out of a controversial gas bar deal that’s been ongoing for a decade on the community’s $2.1-million urban reserve just outside of Winnipeg.

Businessman David Doer signed over ownership of the physical gas station building to Roseau after a land designation process failed, making the land unleasable. But as APTN Investigates reported he continues to profit from a lucrative management agreement the previous chief and council signed.

The business was also part of an APTN hidden camera investigation that revealed the gas bar was surreptitiously using status card numbers of some customers to sell tax-exempt gas and cigarettes to other non-status customers.

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