M’Chigeeng First Nation band members vote against proposed election day changes

M’CHIGEENG—M’Chigeeng First Nation band members have voted against a proposal to change the general election day in the community to the first Saturday of the Labour Day weekend in September in a voting year.

Marlene Debassige, deputy referendum officer told The Expositor after the referendum vote this past Saturday, “80 people voted no to the proposal, with 69 voting yes.”

On June 2, M’Chigeeng council decided to approve a referendum on the M’Chigeeng First Nations custom election code 2019 to state, “M’Chigeeng First Nation general election shall be held on the Saturday of the September Labour Day weekend in the voting year,” Ogimaa Kwe Linda Debassige wrote in a letter to community members.

Labour Day weekend is when M’Chigeeng holds its annual powwow with a large attendance of both local and non-local band members.

Ogimaa Kwe Debassige had explained previously councils’ decision to hold a referendum, “was based on membership expressing the desire to have the general election return to the Saturday of the Labour Day weekend in a voting year. Currently, the general election occurs at the end of March in a voting year. To ensure this change is complete in a proper, transparent and legal way, a referendum and vote by the membership is required.”

Marlene Debassige told The Expositor that with the proposed voting change having been defeated, the next step in the process is to prepare for elections to take place in March.