The candidates for Chief and Council for the upcoming 2020 Walpole Island First Nation election have been finalized.
The following seven candidates will appear on the ballot for Chief, when the election takes place on September 19, 2020:
The following 56 candidates will appear on the ballot for Council:
One Chief and 12 Councillors are set to be elected.
Two names Walpole Island residents will not see on the 2020 ballot are Sir Paul McCartney and Ryan Reynolds.
The former member of The Beatles and the Canadian actor had been nominated for Chief and appeared on the initial list of nominees.
James Jenkins, director of operations for Walpole Island, told the Sydenham Current attempts to contact both McCartney and Reynolds were unsuccessful.
“The celebrity names were removed by our Electoral Officer under the direction of Indigenous Services Canada (ISC),” Jenkins said on Friday, August 14, 2020.
“I understand that ISC Elections Division has a protocol for this because if the nominated person cannot be contacted with the information provided, it is impossible to determine who the candidate was intended to be.”
Jenkins added: “For example, there are many hundreds of people with the names ‘Ryan Reynolds’ and ‘Paul McCartney’ in Canada and the United States.”
Earlier this week, Jenkins told the Sydenham Current that both of the celebrities were nominated by eligible electors.
Jenkins said ISC had provided direction to remove their names if the electoral officer could not make contact with them by 4 p.m. on Thursday.
Having the musician and actor on the list was allowed under the Indian Act, as the Chief does not have to be a member of the First Nation, Jenkins said.
Subsequently, this led to international attention to Walpole Island, as several media outlets, including tabloid news website TMZ, published articles about the situation.
“The international attention may shed light on how archaic the Indian Act is, which is the federal legislation that governs First Nations in Canada,” Jenkins said.
“The Indian Act has not been amended for over 100 years except by Supreme Court decisions.”
Jenkins said Walpole Island could take steps in the future to avoid this from happening again.
“An eligibility requirement for Chief could be put in place through either, one, a custom election code ratified by the membership or, two, the ratification of a constitution and further ratification of election procedures by the membership,” Jenkins said.
Voting for the 2020 Walpole Island election will be held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on September 19, 2020, followed by the vote count.
This will all take place at the Walpole Island First Nation governance building.
If anyone has any questions or concerns regarding the election, they can contact Vaughn Johnston, the electoral officer, toll free at 1-866-286-7130, by text at 1-705-849-8072, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Walpole Island First Nation officials say.