Removal of Saddle Lake Council
Removal of Saddle Lake Council
Why this petition matters
Members of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation #125 started this petition to Saddle Lake Cree Nation Council of Treaty No. 6
PLEASE NOTE: If you hold an Indian Act Status Number that starts in #4620- (10-Digits), you are eligible to sign the petition (includes Goodfish Lake/Whitefish Lake #128 members). Please spell full name and indicate First Nation in town/city section of petition.
We the membership of Saddle Lake Cree Nation have lost confidence in the present Council members ability to follow our elections laws, to govern our nation in a fair and equitable manner and to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility.
This Council on Oct 25, 2020, failed to be procedurally fair not only to Chief Shirt but to the membership of Saddle Lake by calling a band meeting with less than 24 hours’ notice for the purpose of removing our duly elected Chief. Council have constructively prevented Chief Eric Shirt from performing his obligations and his duties to the Saddle Lake Cree Nation and in doing so Saddle Lake Council have chosen to disregard, disrespect the membership voting rights.
Councils’ refusal to abide by March 8, 2022, Judicial Review court ruling which states “The November 9, 2020, decision suspending the Applicant from his elected office as Chief of SLCN is hereby quashed and the Applicant is reinstated as Chief in accordance with his election to that office on June 12, 2019” is concerning. In addition Council stating to the Court that it was Saddle Lake membership who called for the Oct 26, 2020 band meeting when in fact the directive came from Council as demonstrated by Councils’ motions and posts questions the Councils ability to be truthful.
Confidence in this Councils ability to deal with issues of significance in a fair, lawful and equitable manner are further eroded when Council sends a survey to amend the election law to membership dated March 17, 2022 with the expectation that these surveys were to be returned by March 25 and this would result in a new election law that Council would ratified into law on April 15, 2022. It is further alarming when many members both on the reserve and off did not receive a copy of this survey and the proposed Election Custom code contravenes Charter of Rights and Freedom by not allowing 18-year old, opportunity to vote.
Council deliberate efforts for voting suppression to select Saddle Lake membership. This is not a fair democratic voting process. An election poster dated April 12/2022 cites restriction voting to occur only at the location of Manitou Kihew Arena (Saddle Lake Cree Nation). This is despite their custom code referencing; opportunity to hold advance polling and consistent with Charter of Rights and Freedoms, includes realistic mechanism by which off reserve elections can participate in elections process – e.g., mail out ballads. Current case in federal court to be heard June 14/2022 denying voting rights to a Saddle Lake member citing Bill C-31.
This Council acts beyond the scope of its authority and outside of tribal custom when it does not include Chief Eric Shirt or the people and Chief of GoodFish Lake / Whitefish Lake in a consultation process. All of this points to an "extreme lack of meaningful and adequate consultation" as reasons for our frustrations with the current Saddle Lake Cree Nation Council.
Our trust that this Council is exercising it’s fiduciary responsibility is undermined when they actively stall the forensic audit which would help our Nation develop best practice and good governance; or when they do not report on money gained from business like EPCOR or where they have collected taxes from land use, cigarette tax, lottery funding. Lack of transparency in these areas can denote the potential bribes placing them in conflict of interest situations.
In addition, unfair practice such as not posting administrative managerial positions or rehiring individuals who were terminated for negligence and misappropriation of funds cause us the membership to question if there are any other instances of unfair managerial practices supported or promoted by this Council.
We the membership of Saddle Lake Cree Nation formally ask the present Council to step down and resign as we know longer have faith, confidence or trust your ability to lead our Nation in a democratic, fair and lawful manner.
Saddle Lake Cree Nation Members #125