Federal Court orders NL First Nation to hold new band election

Federal Court of Canada ordered the Mushuau Innu First Nation in Labrador to hold a new band council election during the next three months. The judge based his decision on the rationale that it is time to leave behind the results of an election held almost two years ago.

According to Judge Donald J. Rennie, he found a number of indiscretions in the management of the election that took place on March 5, 2010.

Judge Rennie said: “The problems began with the (election) call on short notice, continued through the mechanics of the election process, including loss of control of the number of ballots printed and culminated with the unacceptably high number of spoiled ballots and the loss of control of the ballot and box.

“It cannot be said that the principles of fairness and impartiality were respected in the election process.”

He also said no additional measures were taken as regards to the election until Feb. 20, 2010, 15 days before the election took place. The band constitution states an election is ought to be held one month after the date it is called.

“The closeness of votes for female councillors establishes both a causal and material relationship between the irregularity and the outcome of the vote. Any one of five candidates could have been elected had the 45 spoiled ballots been counted in their favour,” wrote the judge in his decision.

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