LFN candidate promises accountability

Peter Stone is not satisfied with the way Liard First Nation people are being treated by their government.

Peter Stone is not satisfied with the way Liard First Nation people are being treated by their government.

Band members don’t feel that their views are being heard and this causes frustration within the community.

To change things, Stone is running for chief in the upcoming election.

“As a member, I’ve observed the council’s conduct and performance over the past three-year term,” said Stone.

“Like many other members of the LFN I’m not particularly happy with what they’ve done.

“I strongly believe that they’ve failed the membership in terms of providing leadership with accountability to members and transparency in their actions as well as not consulting the general community in terms of the decisions they make and the directions they take.”

Stone is a trapper and guide who has also helped negotiate several treaties and agreements.

Aside from his campaign goals for good governance and consultation with membership, Stone would like to see more carefully planned economic development.

“I’m not opposed to development per se, I just think we should aspire to work toward co-operative agreements with common benefits and opportunities for all,” he said.

“The five Kaska communities must work together to share resources and development.”

Liard is one of four First Nations that has not signed a Yukon land claim agreement.

This is not likely to change under Stone’s leadership.

“People do not want to engage in a land claims agreement that is connected to the umbrella final agreement,” he said.

“I don’t feel it’s working for other First Nations, nor is it fair.

“Would a fair agreement make you give up 95 per cent of your land?

“We understand that we need agreements for jobs and other benefits,” he added.

“But not as it was entered into in the land claims agreements.”

In 2003 the Kaska Nation negotiated a bilateral agreement with the Yukon government.

It basically established a framework upon which the Yukon government could engage the nation for access to its traditional territory for resource development.

That agreement has since expired.

“But it’s very important to remember what remains,” said Stone.

“That YTG recognizes that the Kaska Nation has aboriginal title and rights to its traditional territory.

“In order to access lands or resources, they must have the consent of all Kaska.”

Other candidates for chief include Liard McMillan, who is seeking re-election.

Councillor David Dickson is running on a platform encouraging the preservation of traditional values.

But the third candidate, Daniel Morris, has caused much concern with his return to politics, especially among aboriginal women’s groups.

While chief in 2003, Morris pleaded guilty to assaulting his estranged wife.

He also owes the band roughly $250,000.

“I encouraged chief Morris to step down and deal with that particular matter when that turmoil took place,” said Stone.

“I didn’t feel he was in a position to continue to hold the role of office.”

But according to the First Nation’s electoral regulations, only a candidate that has been charged within the last 24 months can be barred from running.

Prior to this election, the Liard First Nation assembled an election committee to review the regulations used in the 2004 election, said Stone.

 A recommendation was put forward that the 24-month period be extended to five years.

“It was up to council to address and we now see that it hasn’t been changed,” said Stone.

“So I believe that the onus is on the existing chief and council.”

The election takes place on Monday.