Skidegate election Thursday

  • Mar. 10, 2014 7:00 a.m.

The Skidegate Band Council elections are just days away, and band members age 18 and over will choose one chief councillor and seven councillors out of a total of 20 candidates.?The polling station will be at the community hall, open from 9 am to 8 pm on Thurs. March 13.?It’s a good idea for voters to bring their band card.?Anyone living off-reserve, including Queen Charlotte, should receive a mail in ballot package, according to Doris Rosang. If off-reserve band members vote in-person at the polling station, she said they need to bring that package and band card with them.?If anyone didn’t receive their mail-in ballot package or has questions about the electoral process, contact electoral officer Fred Schiffner at 604-943-0522.?The two candidates for chief councillor are Robert Mills and William Yovanovich. The Skidegate Band Council has been operating without a chief councillor since Mr. Mill’s resignation in Nov. 2012. It did not hold a by- election to save on cost and instead use that money for programs. Robert Williams, the deputy chief has been acting as spokesperson in the interim.?The eighteen council candidates are: Duane Alsop, Conrad Collinson, James Cowpar, David Crosby, Nelson Cross, Lyndale George, Shelley Gladstone, Roy S. Jones, George Martynuik, Michelle (Missy) McDonald, James McGuire, Garner Moody, Edward Paul Pearson, Raven Rorick, Edward Russ, Godfrey Williams, Robert (Bobby) Williams, and Willard Wilson.The Skidegate Band Council election is Thursday (March 13), with a large slate of candidates in the running. The Observer invited all to submit statements outlining what they should be elected. We received the following.For Chief Councillor:William Yovanovich My name is William Yovanovich, I would like to start with a heartfelt haawa to my nominators Guujaw and Chief Gaahlaay. I have lived on Haida Gwaii all my life and love living here I believe in our people. Please consider me when you cast your vote for the chief councilors position in the upcoming SBC election on March 13. I have served the people of Skidegate for the last two terms as a councillor.During my time and as part of the team I have witnessed SBC come from a large deficit to a healthy surplus and beginning to generate our own revenue all in a relatively short period of time not an easy task! I clearly heard and share your concerns about reporting and will ensure it improves. The first item on the agenda will be appointing a deputy chief councilor I would like to thank our current deputy Robert Williams for stick handling things for the most part of the last two terms! Next will be portfolio selections I would like to spend more time doing this than in the past it would be beneficial to include program heads and share the work evenly with all the councillors. I have remained 100 percent dedicated and committed to my position as a councillor and if elected chief councillor I will continue to be one of the first into work and one of the last to leave as I have done through out the past two terms! Forestry has been very active and has really helped with the bottom line. I would like to thank all forestry staff who helped with our woodlot it was done safely with a good financial gain for the band.Some of my favourite times have been sharing meals with the elders and youth at SHIP our Haida language program keep up the good work all of you. In my spare time I like together and share our local seafoods. I have many good connections and SBC has great credibility with them all. My wish is to keep serving the people of Skidegate and maintain the current course with your support we can make this happen. For your past and future support. Haawa BillyFor councillor:Duane AlsopFirst off, I would like to thank the people of Skidegate for the support over the last two terms. Over the last two terms, I feel that we as a council have done a pretty decent job at trying to move the community forward. In this most recent term, we have started to make a move to a governance-based model and less management. With that said, I would like the opportunity to represent you again on the basis of a more responsible governance-based model. With that said, I am proposing that we change the structure of the council and try to change it to a once a week meeting schedule.Over the course of this last mandate, you have probably seen myself and other members take on part-time jobs in an effort to move this initiative. Ultimately what that would mean, is more money for community programs. This also means that we would be relying on our management and staff to carry forward the day-to-day operations and direction set out by council.Over they years, it was necessary for council to be a full-time position but as our community has built and the Canadian government has changed, it is time that we change. Thank you for your time and hoping I have gained your support.James Douglas CowparElected for the first time in 2008, my purpose for running was to work toward positive change. In an attempt to balance the needs of our membership with the pressure of economic uncertainty we were able to manage deficits in a way that helped pave the way toward changing the way we do business as a council.Six years later, I stand committed to a process of change. Once dependent on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) funding we are now witnessing the benefits of Own Source Revenue (OSR). In listening to our community, the needs remain the same: jobs, education, support for Haida language, housing, health, elder care, youth and much more. With continued cutbacks from AANDC, creativity is the solution to overcoming this challenge. Hearing “we always do it this way” – In my view this doesn’t make it right. Therefore, my commitment is to not only better manage our budget under Aboriginal Affairs but to adopt a comprehensive approach to create an economy that benefits the community of Skidegate and Haida Gwaii. Support for trades training and entrepreneurship are some of the avenues we can build capacity in Skidegate and create real jobs. In building local partnerships we will have the ability to provide skills and training. Through continued community engagement and planning and more support for education we will reach our goals. Re-elect James Cowpar for council.Lyndale GeorgeI would like to thank the members of the community of Skidegate for supporting me in the last election, and I am looking for continued support in the next two years.During the last two years I have focused my attention on ensuring that policies are put in place for programs so that all people have the same opportunity for support and all are treated fairly and equally.I have also made the decision to accept a part-time job to allow some of the money being paid to council to go back into the community and support community programming. I do not feel that it is necessary for council members to sit for four days a week. We need to move from being a management board to a governing board and this can only be achieved when we allow the staff to take on more of the management responsibilities, which is their role.We have an amazing and proud community and we as a council need to continue to support band programs for the youth and elders such as the Youth Centre, Adult Day Program and SHIP.Shelley Gladstone, BEd, BArtsCandidate for SBC councillor. I am from the K’uuna Llnagaay Clan. My child name was given to me by late uncle George Young, who was Chief of Skedans. I was born and raised on Haida Gwaii. I have three daughters and 15 grandchildren (late sister, Janice’s grandkids are my grandkids). I have parents who provide me with guidance, inspiration and pride in my nationhood. I have had memorable experiences meeting, and working with generous, gifted teachers/leaders. All my teachers say to continue to gather and give back knowledge and experiences. I do this hearing and helping others and by volunteering on boards and committees.I would like to assist and support in the community’s decisions on how to move towards healthy and accountable communities, leaders and governance (Community Planning & Haida Health Hub). The basic foundation of our governance has been based on our traditional language, culture and roles in the community, ensuring honorable governance and processes for community engagement and decision making. The processes have begun and I would be honoured to be part of continuing to moving it forward.I would like to acknowledge the hard work of everyone, past and present, who take the role of leaders in the community. Michelle (Missy) McDonald I spent 18 years of my life growing up on Haida Gwaii until I moved to Vancouver Island and worked in the fishing industry, aquaculture, and working with special needs children. The defining moments of my life were when I landed my first management position at Omega Packing in Masset in 2002 and the other one was when I was able to help my client walk for the first time in six years. In 2010 I was offered a job as a plant manager for Sealaska Corporation in Kake, Alaska. These two career paths have taught me strength of character to be a woman, in a male driven industry and compassion for helping others that need a leg up. In the course of all the places I have lived I have made sure to leave positive changes to community and to people I have worked with.Since being home I have worked for the Northern Health/mental health until I was giving a position as a Haida Health Hub coordinator. Currently I work for the Hub, Haida Child & family and I am on the board directors of the Food Bank.If I were to be elected my focus would be on the health portfolio or fisheries where I can make the most impact with all the contacts I have gained over my careers. It is important to me to work towards a healthy community through language, food, and through knowledge.Godfrey WilliamsHello good people, I appreciate the time taken to read this statement. My name is Godfrey Williams, I’m again running for the Skidegate Band Council thanks to support from family, friends and Skidegate membership. I have held this position for four terms. In doing so I continue to learn everyday and to my best for our community and the Islands as a whole. Each term has brought something new, this past two years has shown us how to restructure especially in Economic development specifically with Gwaalaga Naay. I also hold a seat on the Northern Native Fishing Corporation and with Haida Fisheries. I continue to learn how to educate our people with my seat on Tricorp. As a governing body the Band Council needs to look forward and learn from past mistakes. I spend a majority of my time looking for money to bring into the community. We want to have ways to put more members to work for more businesses be run by members and to have our youth who leave for an education to have the opportunity to return and to find a sustainable way to live on Haida Gwaii. Two promises I will make, I will continue to show up to work every day and do my very best, and I still continue to have an open door policy, I may not e able to solve the problem right away but I will always be willing to listen. Best of luck to all candidates.