Youth anxious for universal vote
Grand Chief Stan Beardy encouraged the Nishnawbe Aski Nation chiefs to make a decision on the universal vote issue by the next chiefs meeting or the next Keewaywin Conference.
“In my travels throughout Nishnawbe Aski, increasingly young people have come up to me and said ‘When do we begin to participate in the selection of our leadership with Nishnawbe Aski,’” Beardy said. “For that reason, we keep coming back to you for further direction in terms of creating that opportunity for all our people to have a role in selecting our leadership and to have a role in deciding the government that we want to build for ourselves for future generations.”
The mandate for universal vote was first introduced in 2003 to involve all NAN members in the decision-making and political process systems.
“We shall have to give it the right questions in terms of the costs of implementing this concept,” Beardy said. “If this is recognized by the NAN chiefs it could be a reality that we have a universal vote in the next two years.”
The universal vote for Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s executive council was brought up for was discussion June 10 during the 29th Keewaywin Conference.
“We have requested funding for a community consultation,” said Bill Nothing, a Chiefs Steering Committee member. “We are not sure we are going to get the proper amount of money to be able to do an in-depth community-by-community consultation.”
Without the proper funding, Nothing said the committee is looking at developing a process that covers “a good cross-section” of communities.
Over the past 30-plus years and 29 Keewaywin Conferences, Beardy said immense progress has been achieved by NAN and its communities in many areas.
“Today when we look at our First Nation administration offices, when we look at the capabilities of our people to manage program services, we are very sophisticated,” Beardy said. “We take advantage of what is available to us, technology and outside knowledge. So 30 years later we are in the next phase in our development. Now we are beginning to look at governance.”
The Chiefs Steering Committee had previously stated it would take a full calendar year for the electoral process, from developing the voters list and seeking funding for the process to inaugurating the new executive.
They also found that a NAN-wide election – spanning two time zones, and with NAN members living in remote communities and urban centres – could cost up to $500,000.
Recently I have been watching news reports on how the left more socialist parties in our country and other parts of the world are being taken over by more...