A Hearing for an Injunction is Schedule for July 17th,2015 in The Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton, to stop a Referendum from taking place in Kehewin, Alberta.
The Referendum is planned to be held by The Chief and Council of Kehewin Cree Nation, on July 21st, 2015. However, Barrister Tina Dion, says the current Chief and Council were found not to be dully elected in a Federal Court Settlement on May 12th, 2015. Thus, stipulates Dion, they do not have the authority to host a referendum of this magnitude.
“They’re (Council & Chief) are purported to hold a referendum, with respect to a settlement they reached with Canada.” The settlement Dion is referring to stems from the 1980’s. Kehewin was owed money from an oilfield project, Dion says, “it’s to do with over payments for gas extractions.” Dion believes The Band settled for a sum of around $7.5 million with The Canadian Government. She states she doesn’t take issue with spending the money, “it just needs to be done after the September election.”
“I was as surprised as anyone to hear they were planning to hold a referendum,” continues Dion, “they shouldn’t be permitted to do that, given that from the settlement on May the 12th in Federal Court, it was agreed that the election from March of 2014 wasn’t legally valid.” For the intern, until the September election results are determined, Dion states Chief and Council, “should be doing nothing more than dealing with emergency situations; flooding that sort of thing.”
Dion believes that the referendum can, and should wait until after the election this upcoming September and that is what she hopes to accomplish in court on July 17th with the Hearing for an Injunction.
Nominations for council and chief for the upcoming election, will be held Monday, July 13th at the Kehewin Rec Centre from 7:00pm – 10:00pm. As a result of the May 12th Settlement, any Kehewin band member can run for office, including off-reserve members.