EDITORIAL: TIB needs to open door to community
If nothing else, perhaps the court action involving the November Tk’emlups Indian Band’s election will result in a bit more light being shone on the affairs of the band.
As it stands now, open government is a description that simply does not apply at the TIB.
Marie Baptiste was a candidate for chief in the Nov. 10 election, finishing well behind incumbent Shane Gottfriedson.
However, Baptiste is petitioning the court to set aside the election results and hold another vote due to erroneous information sent to off-reserve voters, of which there were 377 among the 902 people eligible to vote in the election.
Election notices mailed out included wrong voting dates (Nov. 27) and a wrong voting location.
Baptiste is arguing the mistakes could have had a significant effect on election results.
While a judge decides what to do with her request, it is worth noting that Baptiste has stated her difficulty in getting answers and having Gottfriedson and band staffers respond to her concerns.
Her frustration is not surprising, considering information can be very hard to come by when dealing with the TIB.
As KTW was once advised on a rather straightforward inquiry, all such questions must go through the chief.
The election’s all-candidates meeting was off-limits to non-members of TIB.
And, while Kamloops city council chambers are open to one and all, non-members of the TIB are prohibited from simply observing.
There is no reason for this shield, other than this is how it has always been done.
As long as taxpayer dollars go to the TIB, and as long as the band and City of Kamloops enter into various agreements — infrastructure-related or otherwise — as they do now, the band should emulate the city in operating with an open-door policy for one and all.
If not, the question must be asked: What is being hidden?