Tla’amin Nation has a new hegus and a slate of eight legislators elected in the 2020 Tla’amin legislative assembly election held on October 17.
With a total of 478 ballots cast, and one spoiled ballot, John Hackett was elected hegus with 171 votes, followed by Clint Williams, with 135 votes, Denise Smith (Kwyem Tomolx) with 122 votes and Vern Pielle, with 49 votes.
For legislators, there were 477 ballots cast, with five spoiled ballots. Elected to office were Losa Luaifoa, with 357 votes; Lori Wilson, with 273 votes; Dillon Johnson, with 256 votes; Erik Blaney with 200 votes; Brandon Peters, with 199 votes; Gloria Francis, with 175 votes; Tyrone Wilson, with 174 votes; and E. Larry Louie with 156 votes.
Also seeking office were Adeline August, Michael George (Williams), John Hackett, Byron Harry, Dorothy Louie, Brandon Louie, Jordan Mitchell, Cynthia Pallen, Mario Paul, Walter Paul, Vern Pielle, Jolene Sutcliffe, Jack Timothy, April Treakle and Clint Williams.
Tla’amin elections are for four-year terms.
Hackett said his election is definitely a new chapter in his life.
“I’m very honoured to be elected, especially with this powerful legislative council that was elected as well,” said Hackett. “We have a very strong council this term and I’m looking forward to tackling some issues.
“There’s a lot of moving targets with this being our second term of self-government. It’s a very exciting time.”
Hackett, in the last term, served on the executive council of the Tla’amin legislature. He held the finance portfolio.
“I was very active last term as well,” said Hackett. “I was hands-on with the finance committee. We negotiated a fiscal finance agreement and we negotiated $3 million a year for services for five years. Being involved in that gave me a head start in my role as hegus.”
Hackett said he has been involved in Tla’amin governance since he graduated from college in 2006.
“I’ve actually been involved for 14 years now,” said Hackett. “I served when we were under the Indian Act and I sat in on the negotiations as we were approaching our final agreement. It was an interesting time, for sure.
“We came up with a lot of the laws. There were trials and tribulations that we went through, trying to correct the wrongs and learning from our mistakes.”
In his role as hegus, Hackett said he wants to fully utilize the eight legislators. He said last term, there was the executive council of four members and he said he thinks the roles and responsibilities weren’t really clear, being the first term in self-government.
“This term, we’re going to make sure that we all have input,” said Hackett.
He added that he wants to keep a positive vibe with everybody.
“We’re working towards a bright future,” said Hackett. “We want to serve this community equally and in a transparent manner. It’s been a really positive feeling this past week since I got in, and with this new group.”
The first sitting of the newly elected legislature is slated for October 23 at 2 pm. A notice from Tla’amin indicates that because of the need for physical distancing, citizens cannot be in attendance, so the meeting will be live-streamed.
In this meeting the executive council members will be determined, legislators will read their oaths of office, a future meeting schedule will be set and possibly some other business items, according to a dispatch from Tla’amin.
The Tla’amin Nation general election had originally been scheduled for September 19, but due to COVID-19 concerns, was postponed to October 17. According to an order of the legislative assembly on September 16, the elections officer had determined that the election could not safely proceed as scheduled on September 19 and recommended that it be postponed.