Wei Wai Kum Chief Bob Pollard is confident a review of band expenditures will satisfy all parties that the band is opearting in a fair and democratic manner.
“We welcome the arbitration review, the INAC review and any process that will satisfy all parties that the band is operating in a fair and democratic manner and that councillors are fulfilling their role to represent the best interests of the membership as a whole,” Pollard said in an Aug. 24 letter to Wei Wai Kum First Nation members, a copy of which was sent to the Mirror.
Pollard was responding to a petition that has gathered enough signatures to prompt a review of the actions of Councillor Jason Price under the band’s election code.
Chris Drake launched the petition to force an investigation into the actions of Jason Price, accusing him of “taking payments for his own benefit.”
The petition states, “Whereas, the Petitioner, Christopher Drake, asserts that elected Councillor Jason Price has acted in a manner contrary to Sections 54(a), (c), (d), (f), and (g) of the Wei Wai Kum Election Code and contrary to his ethical and fiduciary obligations to the Nation and the Band Council, the Petitioner requests that the process pursuant to Section 55 of the Election Code be commenced for the removal of Councillor Price.”
It continues: “This Petition asserts that Councillor Price breached his oath of office, the Election Code, and his ethical obligations, and otherwise abused his office by taking payments for his own benefit.”
The allegations stated in the petition have not been proven or substantiated by an arbitrator or other adjudication process.
Pollard said he has received notice that there are the necessary number of signatures on a petition to trigger a review of Price’s role as a councillor. As of the writing of the letter, Pollard hadn’t received the actual petition.
“I welcome this opportunity to bring this matter to a conclusion just as I welcome a review of our band’s expenditures of federal funds that will be conducted next week by a representative of INAC (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada),” he says in the letter. “Our own thorough investigation of this matter included in-depth interviews with all the involved parties (contrary to a statement in today’s paper), a review of our internal records, and legal opinions provided by two lawyers who worked independently of each other. This investigation found no evidence whatsoever of wrongdoing by Jason – or anyone else. We welcome the arbitration review, the INAC review and any process that will satisfy all parties that the band is operating in a fair and democratic manner and that councilors are fulfilling their role to represent the best interests of the membership as a whole.”
Office building not connected
The Aug. 24 story about the Price petition had a picture of the Wei Wai Kum First Nation offices accompanying it.
The office building was built by Ketza Pacific Construction and the Mirror would like to clarify that the use of the office building was not meant to imply that Ketza Pacific or the band office project was connected to the controversy in any way. It was used as a landmark symbol of the First Nation.