Harper Government congratulates Atlantic First Nation for First to Opt into Elections Act
Madawaska Maliseet First Nation continues its innovation approach to governance
June 25, 2015 – Edmundston, NB – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today congratulated Madawaska Maliseet First Nation on their decision to be the first in all of Canada to opt in to the First Nations Election Act.
The First Nations Elections Act and the First Nations Elections Regulations came into force in April 2015. The legislation and new regulations are part of our Government’s commitment to provide frameworks that support stronger, more stable and effective First Nations governments.
The Act provides the structural support necessary for First Nations governments to make solid business investments, carry out long term planning and build relationships, all of which will lead to increased economic development and job creation for First Nations communities.
- Madawaska Maliseet First Nation has 345 members
- The First Nations Elections Act provides an alternative election system that individual First Nations can choose to opt into. The many changes from the Indian Act election system include:
- Four year terms of office;
- Provisions that allow groups of First Nations to hold their elections on a common day and line up their terms of office;
- Clear criteria on the eligibility to be a candidate for the position of chief;
- The possibility for individual First Nations to institute a candidacy fee of no more than $250, which would be refunded if the candidate received at least 5% of the total votes cast;
- Similar to other election laws, penalties for defined offences such as obstructing the electoral process and engaging in corrupt or fraudulent activities in relation to an election;
- No role for the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in receiving, investigating and deciding on election appeals.
“Congratulations to Madawaska Maliseet First Nation on its decision to opt into the First Nations Election Act. The decision being marked today will lead to increased economic development and job creation in this community. It is especially gratifying as the local Member of Parliament to see history made here and to see the hard work of the Atlantic Policy Congress help make today’s achievement a reality.”
– Bernard Valcourt,
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
“The leadership of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation welcomes the implementation of the First Nations’ Election Act in our community. The Act will provide our community with a more stable government, which in turn promotes our economic development and our ability to do long term planning.”
– Madawaska Maliseet Chief Patricia Bernard
Office of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada