Whitehorse Daily Star

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AN EASY WIN – Members of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation have given Doris Bill, seen in January, a second term as chief.

Kwanlin Dün chief coasts to second victory

Doris Bill has been re-elected chief of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation.

By Sidney Cohen on March 16, 2017

Doris Bill has been re-elected chief of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation.

The former CBC journalist took 193 (43 per cent) of the total 444 ballots cast in the election, which wrapped up Wednesday.

She could not be reached for comment on her victory before press time this afternoon.

This will be Bill’s second consecutive term as chief of the First Nation that encompasses Whitehorse.

Four candidates unsuccessfully challenged Bill’s leadership.

Charlene Charlie was the first runner-up, with 112 votes (25 per cent).

She was followed by Ray Webb, who got 68 votes (15 per cent), Buck Smarch, who received 36 votes, and Jason Charlie, who got 35.

Six councillors were also voted in on Wednesday: Dennis Calbery, Charles Chief, Jessie Dawson, Howard MacIntosh, Sean Smith and Ray Sydney.

There were 17 candidates for the six council positions.

Of the six councillors elected Wednesday, Calbery, Dawson, MacIntosh and Smith are incumbents.

Coun. Charlene Charlie did not seek re-election because she was running for chief.

Coun. Alicia Vance chose not to run again.

About 848 Kwanlin Dün citizens were eligible to vote, said Norman Eady, the chief returning officer. This pegs voter turnout at about 52 per cent.

At the KDFN All Candidates Election Forum on Feb. 19, Bill said that if re-elected, she would establish a safe house for at-risk youth and a jobs training plan.

Over her last three years as chief, Bill made community safety a top priority.

In the McIntyre neighbourhood, streetlights were replaced, area trails were cleared of brush, garbage was hauled away and bush party sites were dismantled.

Speeding in the village was another issue Bill tackled.

“One of the problems we had was that people would fly through our community,” she said in a January interview.

“We had a check-stop and I was out there, and I talked to every single vehicle that was out there and asked them to slow down.”

Speed limits have since been lowered to 35 kilometres per hour on eight streets in the subdivision.

In 2016, a tips line was established so that citizens can anonymously report suspected criminal activity.

The Kwanlin Dün government secured $1.4 million in Yukon government funding last spring to hire two full-time equivalent “community safety liaison officers.”

These officers will patrol McIntyre and act as an intermediary between residents and the RCMP and bylaw enforcement personnel.

Though community safety officers are not required to have Kwanlin Dün citizenship, Kwanlin Dün applicants will be considered first, said Gina Nagano, acting justice director for the First Nation.

If a non-citizen is hired, he or she will undergo a cultural immersion process, she said in a February interview.

In January, Bill has said she was proud of the Kwanlin Dün government’s efforts to make McIntyre safer.

She said physical changes to the village, which made it brighter and tidier, made a big difference.

RCMP data tell a similar story.

Between 2014 and December 2016, calls to police about alleged illegal activity in McIntyre dropped 40 per cent.

In 2014, there were 1,097 calls to the RCMP, but in 2016, there were just 668.

Kwanlin Dün is one of the largest landowners in Whitehorse.

As chief, Bill pursued a land registry for the First Nation. That would enable citizens to register land leases at the Land Titles Office without surrendering aboriginal rights and title.

This project is almost complete, she said at the candidates’ forum.

In her closing remarks at that event, Bill acknowledged that the First Nation continues to reckon with trauma caused by residential schools.

“It saddens me to know that the impacts of residential school, and things like that, continue to be present in the community, and it’s hard for people to recover from that,” she said.

“While I have been busy building a government, I have always looked for ways to make things easier for them.”

In her January interview with the Star, Bill said she thought the three-year mandate for chief, which is enshrined in Kwanlin Dün’s constitution, is too short for the leader of a self-governing First Nation.

“If we were an Indian Act band, yes, then three years is appropriate, but I think for self-governing First Nations, if you’re trying to gain stability and consistency in your programs and services, and stability in your government, I think longer terms are more appropriate,” she said.

Bill said she wants to have conversations with her citizens about possibly amending the constitution to extend the chief’s term.

At the candidates’ forum, Bill said: “It’s easy as an elected official to get caught up in the governance and the day-to-day things that need to get done.

“As leaders, we have to be continuously mindful of the people we serve and their needs.”

Comments (4)

Up 1 Down 2

Captain Obvious on Mar 22, 2017 at 2:31 pm

The Kwanlin Dün government secured $1.4 million in Yukon government funding last spring to hire two full-time equivalent “community safety liaison officers.”

$700,000 per 'safety liason' officer? Please tell me there is more than just this being paid for out of our $1.4 million. To suggest that KD needs three quarters of a million bucks per employee is offensive and ridiculous - whether it's true or whether it's not true.

Up 7 Down 2

westofbelfast on Mar 20, 2017 at 6:25 pm

848 eligible voters and 444 cast ballots. That's 404 people that in my mind, lost their right to complain for the next few years.

Up 17 Down 4

Marcy on Mar 17, 2017 at 7:59 pm

We need a chief like Doris at ta'an Kwach'an

Up 20 Down 4

ProScience Greenie on Mar 17, 2017 at 12:26 pm

Good. She is a solid leader with tons of integrity.

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