2016 ʔaq̓am Chief and Council Election news
September 9, 2016: For Immediate Release
ʔaq'am Chief Encourages Next Generation of Leadership
Chief Jim Whitehead declines leadership nomination
Cranbrook, BC – On Wednesday, September 7, 2016, the ʔaq'am Community held their nomination meeting for the 2016 St. Mary’s Band Custom Election for Chief & Council. The result of the meeting was the promise of at least one new leader in ʔaq'am.
The ʔaq'am Community rotate their leadership elections every two years. Councillor Vickie Thomas and Councillor Corrie Walkley will remain with leadership for two more years of their four-year term. While the seats of Chief Jim Whitehead and Councillors Codie Morigeau and Richard “Marty” Williams are up for election.
Councillors Codie Morigeau and Marty Williams were not in attendance at the meeting but confirmed their nomination in advance by letter of acceptance. Surprise came to those in attendance when Chief Jim Whitehead was nominated, but declined to accept the nomination.
"...This was not an easy decision,” stated Whitehead. “I couldn’t leave until I knew that I was leaving behind a solid team; once the nominations closed and the candidates were declared, I had immediate confidence that this was the case…it’s time to give the youngblood a chance.”
Whitehead’s decline of acceptance results in the community being in the position to nominate at least one new member of Council, and ultimately a new Chief for ʔaq'am. Two additional individuals also declined their nominations at the meeting, or shortly after. The final list of Candidates are as follows:
1. Codie Morigeau
2. Julie Birdstone
3. Bonnie Harvey
4. Rod Birdstone
5. Joe Pierre Jr.
6. Richard “Marty” Williams
According to the 2016 St. Mary’s Indian Band Custom Election Act, “The Councillors with the most votes will be the Chief Councillor. If the person with the most votes does not wish to hold this position, then the five (5) Councillors will agree among themselves who will hold the Chief Councillor position, of the three (3) recently elected Councillors.” Three of the six above Candidates will become ʔaq'am’s new members of Chief and Council; with the one with the most votes possibly being named Chief.
The All Candidates Forum will be held at 6:00pm Wednesday, September 14, 2016. The Custom Election will be held from 8:00am to 8:00pm on Wednesday, October 26, 2016; in the ʔaq'am Boardroom.
Media Contact: Jodi Gravelle Chief Operating Officer, ʔaq'am 250-426-5717 www.aqam.net