Abegweit First Nation seeks voting rights for off-reserve members

Jim Day
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Lawyer optimistic federal court will support the band council's application

Don MacKenzie, executive director of the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. at a meeting on fisheries in this Guardian file photo.

The Abegweit First Nation Band Council is going to court in hopes of winning off-reserve members the right to vote.

Don MacKenzie, executive director of the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I., is optimistic "based on law'' the federal court will support the band council's application.

He estimates the case likely will not be heard for a few months.

There is plenty of time, however.

The next band council election, which is held every four years, will be in August 2019.

The application has already been filed in federal court.

Abegweit First Nation has roughly 80 members living off reserve.

The Lennox Island First Nation Band Council amended its code several years ago to allow off-reserve members to vote.

The Abegweit Band council held a referendum in 2010 but failed to get the 75 per cent majority required to give off-reserve members the right to vote in band elections.

So the council decided this year to go to court in hopes of having its Custom Rules governing elections deemed unlawful to pave the way for its off-reserve members to vote in band elections.

Any person looking to impose or intervene in the application has until Feb. 19 to file a notice of appearance.

   

Organizations: Abegweit First Nation Band Council, Lennox Island First Nation Band Council

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