WESTBANK FIRST NATION - She’s the youngest candidate on the ballot for Westbank First Nation councillor and says a seat on council has long been a goal.
And Candace Jack says her relative youth — she’s 33 with two young kids — could be a good thing in the band election September 15, with so many band members now under the age of 40.
“That could make a big difference,” the former band office worker says. “I’ve been talking to lots of community members at the band office and the youth are really speaking out this time around. For a long time it’s been them dictating what we’re going to get. But this time, it’s the youth saying this is what we want, this is what we need.”
The failed hospital project and it’s $8.2 million price tag is a sore point for Jack, but not the only issue she has with the incumbents.
“The have a mandate to develop multi-family housing and it hasn’t been brought to fruition. We have an eight-plex, couple of four-plexes but there’s nothing for low-income single mothers and students,” Jack adds. “That’s something the members have demanded and needed for a long time."
Jack has been dancing at band events for years and is well recognized in the community, likley boosting her chances against the incumbents who are all running again.
“I have been talking to lots of community members who would support me even though I’m a newbie,” Jack says.
Still, she’s cautious about her chances.
“It depends on the support for current chief and council. I think after the hospital project, people aren’t so sure they are the great businessmen they say they are,” Jack says.
It doesn’t hurt Jack’s chances that her mother, Terri Tiljoe, is also running for the first time.
Tiljoe says her motivation is the way the reserves are being run and the qualifications of current chief and council.
“When you look at past and present chief, who runs their businesses? It’s the women, not them,” Tiljoe says.
Also a former band employee, she now works as an executive assistant, and says Louie and council must account for the bad business decisions it made around the failed private hospital project, which cost the band $8.2 million.
“My main concern is around land management. The way they handled that is of big concern. The lack of accountability and transparency is evident throughout the hospital deal,” Tiljoe said.
“It’s not just the hospital fiasco. There is no accountability, especially with personal business development. Developments that clearly would have benefitted our community are instead private endeavours (run by) members of council. One didn’t even offer employment to its own members.”
The Westbank First Nation 2016 election goes ahead September 15. There are four candidates for chief and 16 for councillor. An estimated 550 band members are eligible to cast a vote.
Editor's Note: iNFOnews.ca will try to interview all the candidates for the Westbank First Nation 2016 election for chief and council.
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