No clear winner in the election to choose the team that will guide the Crees of Quebec for the next 4 years
The Crees of Quebec will have to wait a little longer to find out who will be their new Grand Chief and Deputy Grand Chief.
In an election on Wednesday, no candidate received the 50 percent plus one needed to win in the first round, although Mandy Gull-Masty came close to beating incumbent Abel Bosum in the race for Grand Chief and becoming the first woman from Quebec Cree Grand Chief.
Although the results still weren’t official Thursday morning, they showed Gull-Masty with 46.6% of the vote cast or 2,167 ballots. Bosum was in second place with 29.6 percent of the vote or 1,377 ballots.
A third candidate for the post of Grand Chief, the musician and activist Pakesso Mukash, is out of the race after obtaining 23.9% of the votes cast or 1110 ballots.
Chief Electoral Officer Robin Pachanos said the official results will be released on Thursday, once all candidates confirm that they want to participate in the second round of elections for the Grand Chief and Deputy Grand Chief.
In the race for Deputy Grand Chief, the results of the first round were closer, with a second round between Ashley Iserhoff, who obtained 40.1% or 1,895 votes, and Norman A. Wapachee who obtained 35.6% or 1,593 votes.
Low participation rate
There were 13,634 eligible voters in the 450,000 square kilometers of land and 10 communities, as well as voters living outside the territory in places like Montreal and Ottawa.
Official voter turnout figures will be released on Thursday, but unofficial figures show less than 35% of eligible voters voted in this first round.
This year’s Grand Council election comes at a key moment for a $ 4.7 billion development project known as La Grande Alliance signed with Quebec in February 2020.
A contract for a multi-million dollar feasibility study was awarded in April this year for the first phase of the infrastructure project.
The Grande Alliance is proposing several infrastructure projects in three phases over 30 years, including a railway to the far north of the territory, road extensions and improvements, as well as a deep-water port at Whapmagoostui, the The most northerly and most isolated Cree village on the shore of Hudson Bay.
The two candidates still vying for the post of Grand Chief were both part of the squad in place when La Grande Alliance was signed, but Gull-Masty has criticized the way the Cree Nation is making deals like this. and how the plan was developed. explained to the population. She campaigned by pledging to conduct a review of Cree governance structures.
“I think there are a lot of questions right now, both locally and regionally, about how decision-making is made, especially when concluding and concluding a new deal, ”Gull-Masty said in an interview during the campaign.
“I think that needs to be clarified. And I think the process that needs to be identified… how we accept things like that.”
For Abel Bosum, La Grande Alliance represents an opportunity for the Cree Nation to be the engine of development.
“I think a lot of people like (The Grand Alliance) they are finally seeing that we are coming to a turning point… in the way we deal with governments. We are now taking the lead in planning our Eeyou Istchee,” said Bosum. , in an interview in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote.
“Our priority will always be to protect the territory, the fauna and the Cree way of life.
This was Bosum’s first term as Grand Chief. Prior to 2017, he spent 16 years as Quebec’s chief negotiator for the Cree Nation. He led the negotiations that ended with the signing of the Paix des Braves in 2002. From 1984 to 1998, he was Chief of the Cree Nation of Oujé-Bougoumou and led the efforts of his community to obtain a foundation. territorial and obtain recognition as the 9th Cree. community, something formalized in 1992.
At 41, Gull-Masty is the youngest candidate in this race for Grand Chief and, if elected, she would be the first female Grand Chief of the Cree Nation. Prior to her four years as Deputy Grand Chief, she was also Deputy Chief in her home community of Waswanipi and sat as an elected community representative on the Council of the Cree Nation Council. She was also a key figure in an international fight to protect one of Quebec’s last pristine boreal forests in the Broadback River watershed near Waswanipi.
A confirmation of the second round of the elections will be made on Thursday, if all the candidates confirm that they wish to proceed to another round of voting.