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63.5% voter turnout during Lheidli T’enneh election

The vast majority of eligible Lheidli T’enneh band members voted during Tuesday’s election.

63.5% of the 349 eligible band members voted for a chief, four councillors, three lands authority positions, and voted in favour of a referendum regarding the lands authority.

Electoral Officer Loreen Suhr says this turnout is nearly double compared to most elections.

“Quite often in elections – First Nations elections as in our own provincial and federal elections – the voter turnout is somewhere around 30%, so you can see that (this turnout) is very good.”

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Many living on-reserve participated, and Suhr counted mailed-in ballots across BC, and as far as Alberta and the States. She believes this type of involvement shows how involved members are.

“They want to be able to have a say in what’s going on in their local government. With the treaty that is being proposed for Lheidli that is a very important thing and they want to make sure they have the right leadership.”

2017 Results

Voters elected Dominic Frederick to remain as Chief, a position he’s held since 2004.

The four councillors will be Shirley Gustason, Dolleen Logan, Clay Pountney, and Vanessa West.

Elaine Gagnon, Georgina Joseph, and Rina Zatorski will hold Lands Authority positions.

Each individual will hold the position for two years.


The election was originally set for last month but was postponed due to postage issues. Return envelopes were sent out to eligible, out-of-area members separate from the ballots. However, ballots were printed on heavier paper than anticipated. When the ballot seal in the return envelope, it was one gram too heavy for the initial, preset postage. Members became concerned ballots wouldn’t make it back to the office, so all ballots were re-issued with the right amount of postage.

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