Peaceful protest as Penticton Indian band members head for the polls | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Peaceful protest as Penticton Indian band members head for the polls

Protestors mount a peaceful rally in front of the Penticton Indian Band's polling station at the community centre this morning, Nov. 22, 2017.
November 22, 2017 - 11:30 AM

PENTICTON - Penticton Indian Band members opposed to the present chief and remaining councillors mounted a peaceful protest this morning as a polling station opened at the band’s community centre.

A handful of protesters stood in on the deck of the hall with placards reading: “Power to the People,” “No quorum, No PIB government. What’s going on?”

An election is being held today, Nov. 22, to elect five councillors following a series of resignations earlier this year, amid general unrest among many band members about governance.

“My nephew (present chief Chad Eneas) thinks he’s still chief, but the electoral officer called it a failed government after the fifth councillor resigned. I believe a quorum is five,” Pierre Kruger said on behalf of the group.

Kruger admitted the election rules were open to interpretation, but said previous “ousted” chiefs didn’t call police or call the government to back them.

“My other nephew is (former chief and councillor) Jonathan Kruger,” Pierre said, adding, “if Chad were an honourable man, he’d just let the process happen.”

Former electoral officer Valerie Baptiste says several letters she’s written to the chief and remaining councillors have gone unanswered.

“They aren’t doing their duty, not sharing information, holding meetings or talking to the band,” Baptiste said, adding she doesn’t plan to respect a new council if elected today.

In a press release issued yesterday, Chief Chad Eneas and council affirmed its responsibility to all band members in conducting a non-biased election.

The release stated the chief and council have not been involved with the current election process in any way.

Eneas stated yesterday, Nov. 21, “It is important for all voting members to have the right to access the polling station, unimpeded, without duress. We have taken measures to ensure the protection of this non-bias, democratic process. We want to get a full governance table and begin the community mediation process so all membership has the chance to have their ideas and opinions considered.”

The election, open to all voting members of the Penticton Indian Band, runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with the vote count taking place immediately after.

Several band security members were on hand at the community hall this morning as was a member of the RCMP, as people moved in and out of the hall freely.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2017

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