Federal Appeal

Aboriginal Peoples

Unreasonable for committee to call new elections for positions of councillors

This was appeal of application judge’s decision. Various appeals challenging result of 2012 elections were submitted to First Nation election appeal committee. Committee prepared written report of its findings. Committee concluded that election process overall appeared to have been fairly conducted. Nevertheless, it recommended that elections be set aside and new elections be held. First Nation brought application for judicial review that it later discontinued. Respondent, who had unsuccessfully run against appellant in election for office of chief, initiated own judicial review application. Application judge treated application as primarily seeking to enforce decision of committee calling for new elections. Application judge declared that election appeal committee made final and binding decision that required new elections for offices of chief and all councillors. Appeal allowed in part. Election appeal committee had power to compel new elections under article 17 of Long Plain First Nation Election Act. Applying contextual and purposive approach to matter, when recommendation to hold new election was made by committee, recommendation should be treated as decision that was irrevocable, binding and final. When committee issued report with recommendation that new elections be held, it could not have intended that its conclusion would simply be advisory without any effect. Allegations of candidate misconduct affecting result of election primarily concerned elected chief. There was no evidence of candidate misconduct on part of elected councillors. Committee should not have called for new elections for positions of councillors in light of evidence before it. Taking into account all circumstances and applicable legal principles, it was unreasonable for committee to call new elections for elected positions of councillors. Committee did not breach rules of procedural fairness such as to vitiate its decision concerning election for position of chief.

Meeches v. Meeches (Jul. 5, 2013, F.C.A., Pierre Blais C.J., Robert M. Mainville J.A., and D.G. Near J.A., File No. A-102-13, A-101-13) Decision at 226 A.C.W.S. (3d) 615 was reversed in part.  230 A.C.W.S. (3d) 3.

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