Recount confirms Charlie elected chief of Liard First Nation, Morgan threatens legal action

Recount held July 6 narrowed the margin between Stephen Charlie and George Morgan to just four votes

Stephen Charlie was elected chief of Liard First Nation on June 29. Charlie beat out nine other candidates, including incumbent George Morgan, for the seat following the First Nation’s election. (Facebook file)

A recount of ballots following Liard First Nation’s election for chief and council resulted in a redistribution of some votes but ultimately no change in elected officials.

The incumbent chief, however, is alleging “lots of suspect behaviour” took place during the election and is planning on taking legal action.

In an interview following the recount July 6, George Morgan claimed there were “irregularities” surrounding the June 29 election involving the election committee, chief electoral officer, the handling of ballots and voting boxes, and the vote count itself.

“The next step (for me) is to prepare for federal court and take a look at some of these voting irregularities,” Morgan said.

Morgan originally received six fewer votes than chief-elect Stephen Charlie — 75 compared to 81.

The margin was narrowed to just four votes following the recount, with Charlie at 80 votes and Morgan at 76.

Total votes also changed for three other candidates who ran for chief as well as for two candidates who successfully ran for council. Susan Magun, one of nine candidates for chief, went from 57 to 58 votes; Don Magun went from 57 to 56; and Cindy Porter went from 35 to 34.

For councillors, Edward Brodhagen went from 125 to 124 votes, while Derek Loots went from 121 to 120.

Morgan said he had witnesses who were ready to testify about seeing the chief electoral officer, Colleen Craft, in the band office and with Charlie between the election and recount, as well as evidence that ballot boxes had only been guarded by one person or by members of Charlie’s family.

“The chief electoral officer was in the band office last week which seems a little odd to me since we’re heading into a recount, you know, the following week, why would she be in the band office?” he asked. “Why would she be seen around town with the chief-elect when there’s a recount and possible litigation?”

“We’ve had very difficult elections here for a long time, there’s lots of suspect behaviour,” Morgan said later in the interview.

“… I think (the results are) close enough that it’s worth exploration to see if these voting irregularities might throw the results of this election into doubt.”

Craft declined to speak to the News, writing in an email that she’d been “advised not to comment on Mr. Morgan’s opinions.”

Charlie, also reached for comment after the recount, dismissed Morgan’s allegations as “sour grapes,” and said that he “wasn’t worried one bit” about the election or recount.

“He’s got no argument and that’s all I can say. The election was run great, the chief returning officer did a great job, her staff did a great job … The outgoing chief was at the count today and he could not say nothing at all because it was all great,” he said.

Charlie thanked his family and the community, especially the youth, for their support, and said that while he had no “ill will” towards the outgoing chief and council, he was looking forward to have “a really good council to work with.”

“I want to unify the nation, the Kaska Nation — we are better when we are together instead of divided,” he said of his goals for his time in office. “We have to start looking at elders as a priority, our youth for education and work opportunities and you know, just being very transparent and fair in program delivery.”

Morgan, asked about comments from Charlie and on social media that he was being a sore loser over the election results, replied that there were “enough curiosities here that it’s worth pursuing.”

“Considering the irregularities here, considering our long history of having elections that are a little bit funny — no, this is just pursuing what is right in front of our face, is that something funny happened during this election and yeah, that’s about it,” he said.

Contact Jackie Hong at

ElectionsFirst Nations


Former Liard First Nation chief George Morgan poses for a portrait in Watson Lake on June 27. Morgan is alleging “lots of suspect behaviour” took place during the June 29 election that he lost by four votes and is planning on taking legal action. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

A high streamflow advisory has been issued for the Nordenskiold and Klondike Rivers on May 11. Photo by Yukon Protective Services
Nordenskiold, Klondike rivers see rising water levels; advisory issued

Following the river-ice breakup, flows have continued to rise on Nordenskiold and Klondike River systems, said a release by the Emergency Measures Organization.

Tuja Dreyer, of the Ross River Dena Council, won the 2020 Premier’s Awards for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sports. (Photo by Doris Dreyer)
Tuja Dreyer wins 2020 Premier’s Awards for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sports

Tuja Dreyer, of the Ross River Dena Council, is one of six athletes to win the award

Mike Thomas/Yukon News file
A fox runs across the street at Main Street and Third Avenue.
A new project seeks to learn more about Whitehorse fox populations

A new project to monitor and improve the understanding of urban foxes living in Whitehorse will begin this year

The Fireweed Market in Shipyards Park will open on May 13. Joel Krahn/Yukon News
Whitehorse’s Fireweed Market opens May 13

The Fireweed Market will return with ‘exciting’ new and returning vendors

Ron Rousseau holds a sign saying ‘It’s time for a cultural shift’ during the Yukoners: Raise Your Voice Against Misogyny rally on May 11. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Protest held to condemn Yukon Party MLAs’ texts

A rally was held outside of legislature to condemn the inappropriate texts messages of Yukon Party MLAs Stacey Hassard and Wade Istchenko.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Haley Ritchie/Yukon News file
File photo of the legislative assembly. The previous spring sitting began on March 4 but was interrupted due to the election.
Throne speech kicks off short spring legislature sitting

The government will now need to pass the budget.

Most Read