By Clint Buehler
EDMONTON – Audrey Poitras has been re-elected for a fifth three-year term as provincial president of the Metis Nation of Alberta, but not without a strong challenge from incumbent Provincial Vice-President Trevor Gladue.
Poitras edged Gladue with 1,713 votes to his 1,515. Don Langford and Alyse Mcleod barely registered, with 85 and 67 votes respectively.
The contest to succeed Gladue as provincial vice-president was also a close one with Muriel Stanley Venne, longtime activist for Native and women’s rights and founder of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, edging Ron Jones 1,374 to 1,247. Metis cultural activist Lyle Donald, an interim provincial president prior to Poitras’s presidency, was third with 686 votes.
The six regional contests also saw a number of changes.
In Region 1 (Northeastern Alberta) incumbent President Ken Bourque, who had previously served as provincial vice-president, was defeated by newcomer Bill Loutitt, 465 to 383. Wilfred (Pappy) Boucher was third with 60 votes. In the race for vice-president, incumbent Rick P. (Scotty) Boucher edged challenger Joe Blyan, a veteran Metis politician and activist, by 17 votes (459 to 442) in a result expected to be challenged.
In Region 2 (East Central Alberta) President Karen (KC) Collins and Vice-President Homer J. Poitras had no challengers and were returned by acclamation.
In Region 3 (Southern Alberta, including Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat) the president contest to replace Marlene Lanz, who chose not to seek re-election, went to Ephraim Bouvier, a former regional president who had previously unsuccessfully run for provincial vice-president, defeated incumbent vice-president Joe Chodzicki 266 to 128. Replacing Chodzicki as vice-president is Bev Weber, who defeated Gloria Contois McGillis 211 to 138. Troy McLeod was third with 43 votes.
In Region 4 (West Central Alberta, including Edmonton) incumbent President Cecil Bellrose held off a challenge from incumbent Vice-President Tim Collins 689 to 442. In a tight battle to succeed Collins as vice-president, Sharon (Letendre) Pasula (393 votes) defeated James C. Atkinson (315), Dennis (Ike) Pruden (280) and Bruce Kenneth Plante (139).
In Region 5 (North Central Alberta) incumbent President Bev New (197 votes) defeated challengers Louis (Lilboy) Bellrose (147) and Mickey R. Andrews (32) while incumbent Vice-President Elmer Gullion defeated Nora Chapdelaine (Andrews) 249 to 118.
In Region 6 (Northwestern Alberta) where incumbent President Sylvia Johnson chose not to seek re-election, she is succeeded by Brandy Mitchell (142 votes), defeating Odell Flett (108) and Cal Parenteau (89). Darlene D. Cardinal was unopposed in her bid to succeed incumbent Vice-President Louis Bellrose, who did not seek re-election.
The “one person, one vote” democratic elections saw registered Metis Nation members cast their ballots for 14 members of the Provincial Council at 52 polling stations throughout the province. The election process is governed by Metis Nation of Alberta Election Bylaws which are based on the Alberta Elections Act and the democratic system used by Elections Canada.
Registered voters must be 16 years old or older and ordinarily a resident of Alberta for at least one year prior to the date of the election.
The Metis Nation of Alberta represents the political and socio-economic interests of the approximately 80,000 Metis living throughout the province of Alberta. It has more than 10,000 registered members.