Tansi/Good Day Folks:
The ACW held its Annual General Meeting (September 13, 2006) to elect three of its ten member volunteer Board of Directors plus a President. As of October 22 this year the following Executive is listed on its website www.abcouncil.org/acw/:
Larry Wucherer, President email@example.comLionel Chartrand, Vice President firstname.lastname@example.org
Marileen McCormack, Treasurer email@example.com
Jeff Chartrand, Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org
Josie Hill, Director email@example.com
Carol Beaulieu, Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Smith, Director email@example.com
Annetta Armstrong, Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Chief, Director, email@example.com
Rhonda McCorriston, Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lionel Chartrand 395
Larry Wurcherer 272
Cyril Shorting 112
Board of Directors
Wayne Helgason 405
Anita Flett 390
Marvin Delaronde 325
However, since then the election has been mired in controversy culminating with Chief Electoral Officer George Munroe declaring the results "null and void." A lawsuit was subsequently filed in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench (www.jus.gov.mb.ca
- CI06-04-48674). A few facts from the available online information:
(1) The Applicants (Plaintiffs) are Lionel Chartrand, Wayne Helgason and Anita Flett versus the Respondents (Defendants) Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg Incorporated, Larry Wucherer, Josie Hill, Carol Beaulieu, Annetta Armstrong, Cyril Shorting , Joan Hay, Dilly Knol, Diane Roussin, Andrew Thompson and a Party dentified only as a Chairperson Respondent
(2) We have not yet had an opportunity to read (But we will!) the Plaintiffs' Statement of Claim but it would seem reasonable to assume they are asking the Courts to uphold the results citing Section 139 of the Corporations Act of Manitoba
(3) The online case file shows 28 entries everything from 19 sworn affidavits to a subpoena requisition (person unidentified) to testify
(4) Solicitors of record listed:
(i) Lionel Charterand/Wayne Helgason - Norman A. Cuddy
(ii) Larry Wucherer/Joan Hay/Dilly Knol/Diane Roussin- None other than Murray Norman Trachtenberg!
(iii) All other litigants are currently unrepresented.
(5) On October 3, 2006 Queen's Bench Justice C.J. Monnin scheduled a Hearing for 10:00 a.m. Thursday October 26 which should be open to the public. CyberSmokeBlog will endeavour to have someone in attendance so we can report what happened
(6) Since the aforesaid hearing date is so close at hand the case management file currently resides with the Justice who will be presiding. Therefore, we were unable to access it at the Registry but we will once it's returned - should be interesting to see what the afiants have said. In the meantime we leave you with the following article from Grassroots News.
Clare L. Pieuk
Volume 10 Number 34
September 19, 2006
ACW Election Overturned
Controversy reared its ugly head once again during an Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg Election. Accusations of campaign intimidation, election day campaigning and censorship were levelled at several candidates, their backers and organizations located in the Aboriginal Centre.
With 2,829 votes cast in the election and only 28 spoiled or ruled ineligible the turnout represented one of the largest in ACW elections history as Lionel Chartrand outdistanced his rivals by polling 395 votes to Larry Wurcherer's 272 votes and Cyril Shorting's 112 votes.
BOD candidates Wayne Helgason's 405 votes, Anita Flett's 390 votes and Marvin Delaronde's 325 votes indicated the trio would secure the three BOD seats open but Chief Electoral Officer George Munroe declared those election results "null and void" after voting irregularities were raised sending the nearly 200 assembled ACW members at the Annual General Meeting held at the Freighthouse last Wednesday into a frenzy.
A new election has been declared to be held not less than thirty days after September 16th.
The brouhaha began on election day when copies of Grassroots News were ordered removed from the Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg by the Chief Electoral Officer after receiving a complaint about the publication having biased election coverage.
"I ordered them removed due to the fact that there was biased coverage," said Munroe. "My job is to ensure the election is run properly."
Copies were seized by building security and stored behind the security desk.
The absence of the papers was noticed by Michelle Boivin who questioned why they were missing and was shocked at the answer. "It was clearly a form of censorship on the electoral officer and members of the other slate," said Boivin. "I can't believe this, It's just a form of pettiness and an effort to control people's opinions and I won't have it."
When CAHRD Executive Director Marileen Bartlett (Mcormick) discovered Boivin was questioning the decision to have the papers removed she allegedly called Boivin" a whore" in front of a number of witnesses, which Bartlett later denied. "Those are not words I have said in my whole life about anybody. I didn't say those words. You can ask anybody."
However, two separate individuals who witnessed the altercations confirmed to Grassroots News that Bartlett had used the term in her confrontation with Boivin - who is a backer of a slate of ACW candidates calling for more transparency and accountability in the ACW and the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development Bartlett heads up.
The Winnipeg Police Service were called and a television news crew arrived at the Aboriginal Centre shortly after as the call had been intercepted over the police scanner which are monitored by news rooms across the city. The presence of the mainstream media resulted in Munroe reversing his earlier decision to have the newspapers removed. They were replaced by about 3:30 PM that afternoon.
The turning point occurred when several outraged students demanded a new election be called after they discovered the status of their schooling at the Aboriginal Centre wasn't in jeopardy at all. CAHRD student Belinda Kennedy told Grassroots News that Bartlett brought presidential candidate Lionel Chartrand into one of her classes at the Aboriginal Centre where they were mislead into believing that if they didn't vote for Chartrand their schooling would be placed in jeopardy.
"What bothers me even more is that we were led to believe that if we didn't vote for Lionel Chartrand then our schooling would cease to exist. We actually believed that because we were under the impression he was fighting for us," said Kennedy.
We later found out that there is an agreement in place that ensures our programs at the Aboriginal Centre for the next five years. So what was that all about? We were taken for a ride and had I known that I wouldn't have voted for him."
"I'm concerned that they will run me out of school there but I am more angry at them then I am scared of what they will do to me by talking openly about what happened," added Kennedy. "I'm sure they will try to kick me out of school for speaking out."
The debacle continued as points of order and constitutional citations finally resolved that the Chief Electoral Officer was the only person who could order a new election. Munroe appeared unwilling to do that until it was revealed that an ineligible voter had cast a ballot.
Community elder Thelma Meade brought a black man in front of the meeting and respectfully submitted that he was a fine man and was proud to have known him. She questioned why he was able to cast a ballot citing the word aboriginal in the title of the ACW.
Munroe took the microphone and declared the election results "null and void" in view of the man being able to cast a ballot.
It was just a colossal mess," said Michelle Boivin. "From start to finish. I had hoped that there would be a change for the better today. But now after the truth has surfaced we can move on and people can vote and make an informed decision as to who they want representing them."
ACW member Ivy Chaske, who's been living out of province for several years prior to her return to Winnipeg, says she was "terribly disappointed" by the behaviour of ACW presidential candidate Lionel Chartrand during the campaign and the general assembly.
"He wasn't interested in listening to the people and its obvious that if his slate of candidates list was handed out to students when they were being fed and that he was speaking to students during the voting day and telling students that if they didn't vote for him thier education or courses would be in jeopardy that he has no respect for a truly fair and democratic election."
"During the assembly he never spoke to the people or condemned any practices but kept trying procedural lawyer things to prevent the people's decisions at the assembly from being respected. It sends a real message as to how he would be as a leader if he turns his back on the people and refuses to distance himself from people and processes that are not only disrespectful to individuals and democracy but to the entire community."
And when Chartrand attempted to defend censorship of Grassroots News he diminished himself in the eyes of several observers, according to Cyril Shorting, another ACW candidate.
"It shows just how intent he is on control and deciding for others what they can or can't read. It's totally arrogant. It is his right not to read Grassroots News because he personally believes the coverage is biased. But it is not Mr. Chartrand's right to impose the view that because he believes the coverage is biased to prevent other people from reading it or having access to it. Or does Mr. Chartrand propose that as adults we are not to be given the right to make up our own minds. One wonders if the basic fundamental rights and freedoms Canadians have are to be withdrawn because Mr. Chartrand believes they should be. I am stunned by this display of arrogance and disrespect for his own people."
And Shorting's view was shared by his other rival Larry Wurcherer.
"This is what I have been talking about for months and pretty well demonstrates what Mr. Chartrand is about."
"There's no indication from him that he has even the faintest notion of democracy or what the ACW stands for. We are supposed to listen to the people, however, if they can't be manipulated or if they dare to speak their own minds or have their own opinions then Mr. Chartrand will use whatever means to ignore them or attempt to use technical or procedural manipulations rather than denounce un-democratic practices employed by his supporters or others."
"Lionel set a terrible example of leadership of an organization that says it represents an aboriginal people who believe in different values. He's a lawyer and not someone who inspires our people by example and that was obvious during the election," said Wurcherer.
When challenged by Grassroots News regarding his allegations that he had not been given an opportunity to share his election views with the newspaper Chartrand responded, "do you think I'm afraid of you" and walked away.
The weekend prior to the election Chartrand had spoken to Grassroots Publisher Arnold Asham at the MMF General Assembly in Brandon and failed to mention either the newspaper's coverage or an interest in submitting his viewpoints on the election," says Asham. "Lionel had the opportunity to speak directly to me on any matter relating to our election coverage or any complaints he had and he said nothing."
In fact, said Asham, "I took Lionel to task for his supporters having dumped our papers a week earlier and told him we would be pursuing this matter."
During the ACW assembly numerous members also called for polling stations to be located in locations not associated with the Aboriginal Centre.
"I don't want to have to vote at the Ab Centre because there are people and organizations that pressure students to vote a certain way. When you vote in civic or provincial elections you don't vote at City Hall or the Legislature and it should be the dame for the ACW," said Amanda Flett. This has been going on for years and the people are getting wise to their (Ab Centre's) shenanigans. We're sick of being manipulated and disrespected.
Monroe confirmed he would not accept another role as an election officer saying the September election was a trying one for him personally.
Details of the new election, locations of polling stations and the electoral office will be carried in the next edition of Grassroots News.