Court rejects bid to hold second band election
An application by Tk'emlups Indian Band member and defeated chief candidate Marie Baptiste to have November's election results voided and another election called has been dismissed in Kamloops Law Courts.
Judge Chris Cleaveley ruled he was bound by the law to strictly follow the existing regulations used to govern TIB elections.
In making the application, Baptiste had argued an error in the election notice sent to off-reserve voters had the wrong date for the election and the wrong address to go to to cast votes in person.
During the application hearing, lawyer David Paul, representing the TIB, noted existing customs used to run elections for the band include strict timelines on when any appeals can be filed and that Baptiste's complaint fell outside those parameters.
He also told the court Baptiste was the only person to raise an issue about the election that saw her lose her bid for the chief's position to incumbent Shane Gottfriedson.
Cleaveley read his lengthy decision in court on Tuesday, March 12.
Among the points he made was the observation the relief being sought by Baptiste "is somewhat confusing and some of it is beyond the scope of this hearing. By this I mean that Ms. Baptiste, in her claim for relief, asks that the election be set aside and that a new election of chief and council be called."
Cleaveley went on to say the law does give him the authority to do that.
The judge also referred to existing case law in noting his requirement to abide by the timelines established by the band for elections.
"If I had the authority to extend the time frame for the filing of the petition, I would not have exercised my discretion in Ms Baptiste's favour," Cleavely said.
"Ms Baptiste knew on or about Nov. 21, 2012, of the error in the voters' instruction sheet. On these facts, the petition could have been filed before Nov. 26, 2012," which was eight days after the final deadline for any election appeal.
Paul said he felt Cleaveley made "a proper, well-reasoned decision that acknowledges the custom of regulations that govern the TIB and that they are all-encompassing."
Baptiste could not be reached for comment.