McMillan to step aside in LFN election

Liard McMillan's decade-long reign as chief of the Liard First Nation is coming to an end. The First Nation is going to the polls on Dec. 2, but McMillan says he won't run again.

Liard McMillan’s decade-long reign as chief of the Liard First Nation is coming to an end.

The First Nation is going to the polls on Dec. 2, but McMillan says he won’t run again.

“I’ve served my community now for over 10 years, and we’ve accomplished many things while asserting ourselves outside of the land claims box,” McMillan said.

“Those accomplishments include building a development corporation that does business in the mining sector, and owning and operating hotels … I guess it’s just kind of reached a point where the community could benefit from some change.”

While leaving the chief’s chair open for a successor, McMillan said he’ll focus on continuing to serve his community in a private capacity.

McMillan leaves his post in the wake of two significant battles, one with the federal government over the community’s social assistance program, and the other with a local non-profit, the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society.

The social assistance fight saw McMillan hand control of that program back to Aboriginal Affairs because, he said, his government wasn’t given enough money to support it. After two weeks of confusion, a contractor was brought in to administer social assistance locally on behalf of the federal government, which pays for the program.

The conflict with LAWS goes back further, with McMillan and the non-profit’s executive director, Ann Maje Raider, each accusing the other of poor financial accountability.

Whoever takes over as chief likely won’t be sitting down in a cool seat.

One candidate who has already put his name forward is George Morgan. He lost to McMillan in the last election and says he’s running again because he wants to see the First Nation create what he calls good governance laws.

“Good governance is a concept that is widely known. It’s basically rules on how a household or any organization might run. The problem that we’re having is that we really don’t have any rules,” Morgan said.

“We did not have a general assembly this year. This is something we used to do customarily, but we have not had one this year. A good governance rule or law would include a rule that said we are going to have a GA and if chief and council refuse, there would be penalties built into the law,” he said.

Morgan acknowledged that Watson Lake struggles with a host of social ills and addictions issues, and he thinks some sort of supportive treatment or aftercare facility in the community would be a great help.

However, for him the accountability issue is top of mind.

“Even with social assistance … we don’t know which councillors agreed to this particular proposal to send the SA program back. For me, this is all about good governance. It leads to economic opportunities. In order for us to move forward on any of the social problems we’re facing, we must first consolidate how we relate to each other internally,” he said.

As the election approaches, the News will be speaking with other candidates for chief to explore their platforms and ideas for the community.

Contact Jesse Winter at

jessew@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Yukon gets sixth case of COVID-19, three have recovered

Dr. Brendan Hanley said there is a sixth case in Whitehorse but three have recovered

White River First Nation calls on premier to stop mining activity

An influx of miners in the area is causing concern

Whitehorse city council holds off on purchasing Seventh Avenue property

Would be a “costly endeavour for the city”, says councillor

Driving with Jens: Resources in a COVID-19 World

We are living in unprecedented times. Social distancing, quarantines and businesses closed… Continue reading

Yukonomist: Don’t be that person

Back in the Yukon’s early days, visitors were often astonished at how… Continue reading

Victoria Gold still operating Eagle Gold mine with COVID-19 precautions in place

The mine is still in operation but with precautions, including social distancing, in place

YTA, Yukon government reach agreement on hiring dispute out of court

YTA’s petition was set to be heard March 25 but was called off after the parties reached an agreement

City hall, briefly

Here’s a look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its… Continue reading

Skagway has resolve in the COVID-19 struggle, mayor says

Skagway mayor said border access is important for residents.

Yukonomist: Steering your business through COVID-19

While “proofing” your business against the impacts might not be possible, being prepared is.

History Hunter: How the Yukon was spared the influenza pandemic of 1918

The isolation of the Yukon then afford the territory some protection that it doesn’t have today

Most Read