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January 17, 2007 SASKATOON, SK – The Independent Oversight Committee and Chief Electoral Officer designate (IOC/CEO), the body created to hold new elections for the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan, is pleased to announce that they have completed a comprehensive election strategy. Under the plan, an election for the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan could be held on June 27, 2007.
“This plan follows the recommendations of recent electoral reform commissions and would ensure Métis citizens in Saskatchewan will be able to vote in a free and democratic election for the provincial executive,” stated Committee Chairperson, Marilyn Poitras.While provincial and federal government support for the plan is strong, the IOC/CEO believe the approval of Métis citizens is crucial. “Our next major step would be to present the plan to a Special General Assembly of Métis from across the province, so they can review new recommendations on electoral reform and endorse them. We want to ensure the mandate for holding this election comes directly from Métis citizens themselves,” said Poitras.
Under the proposed strategy, the Independent Oversight Committee, in partnership with the CEO, will implement and manage all aspects of the election. Unlike previous Métis elections, voters’ lists would be strictly controlled through a central registration system to eliminate the possibility of list tampering. A province-wide voter registration campaign would be used to create the voter registry. Constitutional amendments to have existing election legislation revised by a Special General Assembly on electoral reform are a critical part of the strategy. The Special General Assembly is proposed for March 2007. An endorsement of the Special General Assembly will ensure that the election respects the provisions of the Constitution of the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan, which requires that the General Assembly consider and ratify any amendments to the Constitution and new legislation.
As part of the renewal process, it is also proposed that a newly elected Provincial Métis Council (PMC) would receive a mandate from the March Special General Assembly to prepare reforms to the Constitution and other MNS legislation that would then be presented back to Métis citizens within a specified time period.
Under the terms of reference for the IOC/CEO, the provincial and federal governments wanted to ensure the Constitution of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan was respected and that the Provincial Métis Council was consulted on, and in agreement with, the proposed plan and process. The proposed plan of the IOC/CEO meets these and all other requirements of the terms of reference. A consultation meeting was held with the PMC on December 4, 2006. At that meeting, the IOC/CEO urged the PMC to accept the proposal and allow the comprehensive election strategy to proceed. The IOC and CEO are optimistic that the strategy and election will be able to proceed as planned.
The IOC/CEO was appointed on June 30, 2006 following the withdrawal of federal and provincial financial support of the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan, based on widespread reports of electoral tampering.
Full details of the electoral strategy can be viewed at http://www.metiselectionsk.ca/
For further information, please contact:
Marilyn Poitras, Chair
Independent Oversight Committee
Janice Braden, Policy Advisor
Independent Oversight Committee
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