ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 20 — September 26, 2012

Registration

SOR/2012-168 September 5, 2012

INDIAN ACT

Order Amending the Indian Bands Council Elections Order (Opaskwayak Cree Nation)

Whereas, by Order in Council P.C. 1952-3692 of August 6, 1952, it was declared that the council of The Pas Indian Band, in Manitoba, shall be selected by elections to be held in accordance with the Indian Act (see footnote a);

Whereas, by Band Council Resolution dated September 14, 1992, it was resolved that the name of the band be changed to the Opaskwayak Cree Nation;

Whereas the band has developed its own election code and a local community electoral system for selecting a chief and councillors;

Whereas conversion to a local community electoral system would better serve the needs of the band;

And whereas the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development no longer deems it advisable for the good government of the band that the council of that band be selected by elections to be held in accordance with the Indian Act (see footnote b);

Therefore, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, pursuant to subsection 74(1) of the Indian Act (see footnote c), hereby makes the annexed Order Amending the Indian Bands Council Elections Order (Opaskwayak Cree Nation).

Gatineau, Quebec, August 31, 2012

JOHN DUNCAN
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

ORDER AMENDING THE INDIAN BANDS COUNCIL ELECTIONS ORDER (OPASKWAYAK CREE NATION)

AMENDMENT

1. Item 36 of Part ⅠV of Schedule I to the Indian Bands Council Elections Order (see footnote 1) is repealed.

COMING INTO FORCE

2. This Order comes into force on the day on which it is registered.

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Order.)

Background

Subsection 74(1) of the Indian Act provides the power to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to order that elections be held in accordance with the Indian Act when he deems it advisable for the good government of a band.

However, a band holding elections under the Indian Act can seek a change to its electoral system and a conversion to the use of a community election code by requesting, to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, an amendment to the Indian Bands Council Elections Order, made pursuant to subsection 74(1) of the Indian Act, to revoke the application of section 74 for the band.

Issues and objectives

On August 6, 1952, the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (formerly known as The Pas Indian Band) was brought under the application of section 74 of the Indian Act. Thereafter, the council of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, in the province of Manitoba, was selected by elections to be held in accordance with the election provisions of the Indian Act.

Further to the development of its own election code and local community electoral system, the band wishes to select its chief and councillors based on its own custom leadership selection process. On October 17, 2011, the council of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation requested, through a Band Council Resolution, to be removed from the election provisions of the Indian Act.

The Order Amending the Indian Bands Council Elections Order, made pursuant to subsection 74(1) of the Indian Act, purports to remove the Opaskwayak Cree Nation from the application of the election provisions of the Indian Act. It is in the interest of and is limited to the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. The conversion to a local community electoral system will serve to build and strengthen the band’s governance autonomy and better address the needs of the community.

Description

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s Conversion to Community Election System Policy allows a band holding elections under the Indian Act to request a change to its electoral system and convert to the use of a community election code.

The removal of a band from the application of the election provisions of the Indian Act is made by order of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development when Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada is satisfied that the band has developed suitable election rules (including secret ballot voting, independent appeals process and compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms), and that the rules and the removal have received support of the community members.

Consultation

The Order Amending the Indian Bands Council Elections Order is made at the request of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and its members. The community election code underwent a community ratification process, wherein a majority of the votes cast by the band’s electors were in favour of an amendment being brought to the Indian Bands Council Elections Order and all future elections being conducted in accordance with the aforementioned code.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada provided assistance in the development of the election code of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, which in turn fulfils Canada’s commitment to strengthen Aboriginal governance.

“One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to this Order, as it does not result in any administrative costs to business.

Small business lens

The small business lens does not apply to this Order, as there are no costs to small business.

Rationale

On January 28, 2011, and September 20, 2011, the council of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation held ratification votes by secret ballot to determine whether a majority of the electorate was in favour of the band being removed from the application of the election provisions of the Indian Act and of adopting the proposed election code. Electors residing off-reserve were allowed to cast their ballot through a mail-in ballot process. The total number of eligible electors was 3 465. In total, 1 113 ballots were cast, 780 voted in favour of the election code and 281 voted against the election code and there were 52 rejected ballots.

On October 17, 2011, the council of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation submitted a Band Council Resolution requesting that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development issue an order revoking the application of section 74 of the Indian Act for the band.

The election code of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and the community ratification process that has taken place being compliant with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s Conversion to Community Election System Policy, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development no longer deems it advisable for the good governance of the band that the chief and council be selected by elections to be held in accordance with the Indian Act. Consequently, the Order Amending the Indian Bands Council Elections Order ensures that members of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation can conduct a leadership selection process according to their own values.

There is no cost consequence associated with the removal of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation from the election provisions of the Indian Act. Henceforth, the Opaskwayak Cree Nation will assume full responsibility for the conduct of the entire electoral process.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

Compliance with its election code, the conduct of elections and disputes arising therefrom are now the responsibility of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

Contact

Nathalie Nepton
Director
Band Governance Directorate
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
10 Wellington Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H4
Telephone: 819-994-6735
Fax: 819-997-0034
Email: Nathalie.Nepton@aandc-aadnc.gc.ca

Footnote a
 R.S., c. I-5

Footnote b
 R.S., c. I-5

Footnote c
 R.S., c. I-5

Footnote 1
 SOR/97-138