Conflicting accounts emerge of Liard First Nation meeting that descended into chaos

The Liard First Nation’s special community meeting was successful in creating an election committee, before abruptly ending in shouting matches.

The Liard First Nation’s special community meeting was successful in creating an election committee, before abruptly ending in shouting matches.

On Feb. 4 LFN members met in Lower Post, B.C. to create an election committee to oversee a vote that was supposed to have taken place in December 2016.

But as members were discussing setting an election date, things went awry.

According to Myron Barr, a lawyer for the LFN citizens suing Chief Daniel Morris and the First Nation for failing to hold the election on time, it’s Morris himself who started things.

As the meeting got underway, Barr told the audience he disagreed with LFN’s lawyer’s interpretation of the LFN election code.

That’s when things went downhill.

“(Morris) pointed to me and said words to the effect ‘that white man can’t dictate to us … I want him out of here now,’” Barr wrote in a letter to Canada’s federal court.

A couple of people turned around, he wrote, and started yelling at him.

“The words and actions of Chief Morris were clearly intended to incite and expose me to hatred and contempt,” Barr said.

A federal court judge had ordered the First Nation to file a report on the community meeting.

In a letter to the court, Morris gives another version of what happened.

He claims that Barr never asked to be allowed to attend the meeting and that he was disruptive when storming to the front of the meeting to confront LFN’s lawyer, Scott Smith.

“Mr. Barr’s actions caused a tremendous commotion, which in turn caused tensions to boil over so much that the facilitator determined that he needed to immediately cancel the rest of the meeting,” Morris wrote.

But all members in attendance had known since the start that Barr was present, LFN member George Morgan told the News.

“And Morris had his own lawyer there, who is not a member of the Liard First Nation,” he said.

Morgan plans to run against Morris in the upcoming election and has been his most vocal opponent.

Several people recorded the meeting, Morgan said, and many are prepared to file affidavits to support Barr’s claims.

Still no election date

With the meeting ending early, there remains no set date for a new election.

And the lawyer for LFN claims no date can be set until the First Nation receives funding for the election.

But funding is already available to the First Nation, the federal department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) told the court in a written reply.

There’s $25,000 set aside for the election that the First Nation can get through Ganhada Management Group, wrote Jonathan Gorton, INAC’s lawyer.

Ganhada is the third-party manager that’s been delivering core services to LFN members for the past three years.

The First Nation was told as early as August 2016 that the funding was available, INAC said.

“If further confirmation of INAC’s commitment to fund an election is required, we are at a loss to understand why LFN could not have sought it earlier,” Gorton wrote.

The election committee also has the power to set the election by itself, Barr wrote to the court.

Nobody from the First Nation was available to answer questions about the meeting.

“I would, however, caution you against relying on Mr. Morgan’s version of the events,” Smith wrote to the News, without elaborating further.

The News asked Smith whether chief and council would provide a breakdown of how the $40,000 INAC gave for the community meeting was used, whether audio recordings of the meeting would be made public, whether the First Nation would file affidavits to support Morris’s claims that Barr disrupted the meeting, whether Smith was a Kaska member himself, and why the First Nation claims it had no money for the election. Smith declined to respond.

A federal judge has requested that both parties provide an update by March 3.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

A city map shows the property at 107 Range Road. The zoning is now in place for developers to proceed with plans for a Dairy Queen drive-thru. If plans proceed on schedule the new restaurant is anticipated to open in October. (Cyrstal Schick/Yukon News)
October opening eyed for Dairy Queen

Will depend on everything going according to plan

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. At its April 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a zoning change to allow a drive-thru at 107 Range Road. Developers sought the change to build a Dairy Queen there. (Submitted)
Drive-thru approved by Whitehorse city council at 107 Range Road

Rezoning could pave the way for a Dairy Queen


Wyatt’s World for April 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Joel Krahn/ Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

Most Read