All the best to the Bigstone Cree Nation in figuring out what to do next when it comes to elections.
There appears to be a conflict shaping up between off and on-reserve members. The on-reserve ones want control, understandably enough. Their thinking seems to be that if you want to leave, fine, but don’t expect full privileges if you do.
The off-reserve ones (some of them, at least), are pushing back, saying they don’t want to be treated like second-class citizens.
That’s more or less the scenario, although it is probably more complex than that.
There is something to sympathize with on both sides. Why, if you are living on reserve, would you want somebody living in Edmonton to be representing you on council? That’s apparently what the current council was thinking when it implemented changes to the election rules stipulating that any member elected to council has to move back home within three months of being elected.
Fair enough, but the (probably unintended) consequence of that rule is to create two classes of members. That was too much for a federal judge, who recently declared the exclusion rule invalid. It’s not over, though, because it hasn’t been tested in the Supreme Court. If Bigstone is keen enough to press its case, that’s where it will end up. Then there’s the question of whether it would ever be enforced.
Meanwhile, the next election for chief and council is this fall.