Dear Squamish Nation Members,
Re: Challenge to Election and Referendum Law and Governance of the Squamish Nation
The Council of the Squamish Nation would like to directly address the actions of a group of individuals who are working to disrupt the peace and unity of the Squamish Nation. These individuals are challenging our recent election and are proposing another one, to return to 16 Councillors. To be clear, this action is not an election for a new Chair and Council and is illegal under Squamish Nation law.
We are the legitimate Council of the Squamish Nation, democratically elected by the People on September 26, 2021. The current Election and Referendum Law was adopted on December 6, 2018, after consultation and a referendum. Our People voted to move to this smaller, but still elected, Council. Under this law, there is no legal power to recognize the actions of these individuals. Our Council cannot support, sanction, nor will we respect the outcome of this so-called election.
The Council is required to follow a process that was chosen by our People in 2018. Any Member who follows the proper process can call a referendum and have Members vote on changes to the election law. Through this process, these individuals could hold a referendum to return to the old system of governance or put a new system in place. This group of individuals has blatantly refused to follow our law. Instead, they choose to mislead and misinform our People by suggesting they have a right to act on the People’s behalf and choose their own way forward.
Council will not stand for this. We will do everything in our power to protect the integrity of the Nation’s democratically chosen electoral process and system of governance. Council is seriously exploring all the Nation’s legal options that could be taken to stop these individuals from brazenly ignoring our Nation’s law.
The Nation and Council will not be providing this group of individuals with financial or in-kind support to assist them with conducting a fraudulent election. They will not be allowed access to Nation buildings or administration to attempt this illegal election. We will continue to maintain the smooth operation of the Nation’s administration and businesses. Interference in council meetings, disruption of staff and our facilities and businesses will not be tolerated.
As a Council, we are directed to respect the will of our People. The actions of these individuals are harmful to the democratic process and the direction Members have chosen. It is our duty to protect the process and defend your right to choose, against individuals working outside of our law, for their own personal gain.
(We thank you for your attention to this matter.)
Squamish Nation Council
Sxwchálten Iy X̱elsílem
Elected Band Manager