A Liard First Nation citizen hoping to run for the First Nation’s council denies he was behind the recent election postponement.
Victor Kisoun told the News he never made legal threats against former chief returning officer Lois Moorcroft.
Moorcroft resigned March 21 without giving a reason for her sudden departure. That put the election on hold until a new chief returning officer is hired.
Moorcroft said the LFN election committee made her sign a confidentiality agreement and she wouldn’t be commenting.
Dorothy Hayes, a candidate for chief, told the News March 28 threats of legal action by two rejected candidates made Moorcroft resign.
That’s simply false, Kisoun said.
“I was upset ( by the rejection), I was frustrated but in no way did I file or threaten anybody with legal action.”
It’s not the other rejected candidate either, Kisoun said, as he’s been in touch with that person.
“This confusion and all this chaos is purely created by people in the community that are working against this process,” he said.
Kisoun is not new to the political scene. He ran unsuccessfully for the NDP nomination in the 2015 federal election. He also ran as an Independent in last fall’s territorial election in Watson Lake.
“I had an easier time running for MLA in Watson Lake in November than … running for councillor in my own First Nation,” he said. “There’s something institutionally wrong with that and that needs to be addressed.”
Kisoun said he filed his nomination paper March 5, but later learned his candidacy had been rejected because he didn’t file it in person with the chief returning officer on March 20.
“Even though I wasn’t issued any notice, it wasn’t posted anywhere you had to be physically present,” he said. “A lot of us young people have to work outside in camp to make a living outside our community.”
Hayes sent the News photos of nomination forms that indicate the nomination papers had to be filed “in person with the chief returning officer by 4 p.m. on Monday, March 20 in the curling lounge in the Watson Lake Recreation Centre.”
Election committee co-chair Emma Donnessy confirmed candidates had to file the document in person. The News emailed Kisoun the document but hasn’t heard back. Kisoun is working at a remote mining camp.
Hayes said she stands by her statement. She said she didn’t want to see any candidate added, adding that 20 candidates made the effort to show up to file their papers in person.
Donnessy previously told the News that the entire campaign would restart and candidates would have to refile their nomination papers.
“There will be no more delay,” said Hayes. “I will sue the whole election committee. This is BS.”
Kisoun said he was running to “give his generation a voice.”
“We find ourselves in deep economic and social despair,” he said. “We’re inheriting a great mess in terms of the economic and social affairs of our community.”
He decried the lack of transparency and accountability from LFN elected officials.
“This is our opportunity to take control of our lives back,” he said. “For too long we’ve been managing the poverty within our community. Now is an opportunity to manage our prosperity.”
He said poor leadership resulted in a divided community. And he criticized the news coverage of Watson Lake and the Liard First Nation.
“It does nothing for anybody self-esteem if you’re young and all you see are the devastating allegations of people attacking each other time and time again,” he said. “It’s a lot more beautiful than the way you illustrate it sometimes in your news articles.”
Kisoun said he hopes to be part of a strong council that will challenge the elected chief.
“The greatest thing you can ask for in Ottawa or in Whitehorse is a minority government, because you have to work together, have to put aside your political differences.”
Contact Pierre Chauvin at firstname.lastname@example.org