Shé:kon sewakwé:kon, following the outcome of the people’s meeting which is summarized below, the following part of this message is directly addressed to Patricia Meilleur and Serge Otsi Simon. One hundred members of your community have expressed in person, that they no longer have confidence in your ability to carry out your responsibilities of office. To this number is added many more who feel the same but do not wish to express it publicly out of fear for retaliation. The people understand that this is not a binding process but we request that you submit yourself to a formal vote of non confidence allowing all eligible community members to express their position. If you oppose this process, please come to the community and face the people in person and engage in dialogue. Explain your positions and answer to the concerns brought forward in an open and transparent manner.

The people of Kanehsatà:ke want and need change in the way governance is carried out. The process for change to date has been carried out in a peaceful and respectful manner while following the regulations under which MCK operates. If this process fails and it is not respected what are the people to do? Let us learn and move forward, avoiding the mistakes of the past.

On July 22 2020 in Kanehsatà:ke, a meeting of the people was called by concerned community members. The meeting was called because the current administration of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake has not held regular public meetings and have demonstrated a tendency to avoid public meetings. In fact, on the day the meeting was scheduled, the Emergency Response Unit, an entity chaired by “vice chief” Patricia Meilleur, issued an interdiction advisory against outdoor gatherings.  It is also notable that a new lock had been placed on the school grounds, the planned location for the event, gate preventing people who normally could unlock the gate from gaining entry.

At this meeting, discussions were had between community members.

To start off, Robert Gabriel addressed the community regarding the GnR recycling issue. He offered an apology to the community regarding the foul smell that people had to endure. He provided an update regarding what they were trying to do in order to rectify the situation in working with the provincial government to resolve the issues. It was a positive initial discussion regarding this matter.

Second, Wanda Gabriel presented the community with the partial answer we received from MCK in response to the request to information. This information had previously been made public. The update was followed by a presentation by Jeremy Teiawenniserahte Tomlinson on the specific claims process. The presentation was not to provide details regarding Kanehsatà:ke’s specific claim but a general presentation on the claims process. The community members present found the session informative and rather shocking. It generated a long conversation and many questions. Notably community members were very concerned that we were involved in such a process without ever being consulted nor kept abreast for the past decade.

The topic of conversation flowed into what we could do as a community to change how things operated. A question was raised asking the group if they were satisfied with how our community was currently being administered and by show of hands, the group expressed a unanimous “NO”! Some in the group expressed that the “grand chief” and “vice chief” should resign.  The discussion then touched about a vote of non confidence process and how that would work. After this, a motion was raised concerning non confidence against Serge Simon and Patricia Meilleur concerning breaches of their responsibilities pursuant to the Kanesatake Custom Electoral Code 2015. The motion was supported by another community member. Following up to this motion, the group was asked by show of hand who supported a motion of Non confidence against Serge Simon and Patricia Meilleur and the group was unanimous in its support. By this time, the group was still over 90 community members which is well over the normal attendance of a regular public meeting. There were representatives from various families and age groups including voting age youth and elders.

A discussion was had among the group regarding the remaining council members and the consensus reached was that it would be beneficial for the community to avoid a full general election or a political vacuum in order to allow time for community consultation to establish meaningful change to the way governance is carried out toward a more inclusive and people driven process.

It is also important to note that the organizers of the meeting as well as many in attendance expressed that the number who support this direction is much greater than the number of people present. This is due to the fact that many people in the community fear retaliation from elected officials which could jeopardize their employment which was accentuated by the ERU’s interdiction order on outside gatherings.

The people agreed that Serge Otsi Simon and Patricia Meilleur would be served a notice advising them of the non confidence motion which included a suspension of their roles and responsibilities as elected official until such a time as the people had been given an opportunity to decide on their confidence in an election style vote. The notice includes a show of good faith allowing for the concerned parties to continue being paid until a binding decision is rendered. Serge Simon Notice   Patricia Meilleur Notice

On July 23, 2020, a group of community members attended to serve Serge Otsi Simon and Patricia Meilleur with the notice of non confidence. They did not present themselves at their work location and cancelled a scheduled meeting where all other elected officials were present and ready. The group spoke with all the other members of elected council in order to explain and update them on the people’s meeting and the position taken by the people.

John Canatonquin expressed that he would rather resign than follow the motion requested by the people.

Bruce Montour and Garry Carbonnell requested until Monday July 27, 2020 to take a position.

Victor and Valerie Bonspille support the motion.

The following part of this message is directly addressed to Patricia Meilleur and Serge Otsi Simon. One hundred members of your community have expressed in person, that they no longer have confidence in your ability to carry out your responsibilities of office. To this number is added many more who feel the same but do not wish to express it publicly out of fear for retaliation. The people understand that this is not a binding process but we request that you submit yourself to a formal vote of non confidence allowing all eligible community members to express their position. If you oppose this process, please come to the community and face the people in person and engage in dialogue. Explain your positions and answer to the concerns brought forward in an open and transparent manner.

The people of Kanehsatà:ke want and need change in the way governance is carried out. The process for change to date has been carried out in a peaceful and respectful manner while following the regulations under which MCK operates. If this process fails and it is not respected what are the people to do? Let us learn and move forward, avoiding the mistakes of the past.

 

Skennen tanon niawen.