Polls closed on Nipissing First Nation this past Friday at 8 p.m. Chief Scott McLeod maintains his seat for another three-year term, and three new councillors were added to the roster.
Seven council seats were up for grabs and 20 candidates threw their hats in the ring. Mike Sawyer, June Commanda, Eric (Rick) Stevens, and Jane B. Commanda were re-elected.
New councillors include Joan McLeod Shabogesic, Tyeler Commanda, and Daniel M. Stevens.
Councillor Corey Goulais did not seek re-election.
Brian Couchie ran again but was defeated.
Six candidates vied for Chief, but McLeod swept. With 483 votes, McLeod almost received as many ballots as the five contenders, who collectively received 497.
Of the 2,235 eligible voters, close to 50 per cent cast a ballot, with 1,002 votes cast. Electronic votes accounted for 493, with 247 mail-in ballots. In-person ballots amounted to 262.
Speaking at a candidates’ meeting in June via Zoom, Chief McLeod highlighted some priorities for his next term, including plans to build a primary school.
He emphasized the importance of “continuing to develop our own mortgage programs and invest in alternative sources of revenue as we have with the solar projects.”
Continuing “responsible management of our land claim trust to ensure a secure future for all of our membership” remains a priority.
“We are nations, we must act like nations,” he emphasized. “We all want and deserve a bright future, a future built on clear vision, proper planning, and hard work.”
McLeod promises “leadership that listens to all members including those who are not outspoken, those too young to speak for themselves, and those who live off reserve.”
Chief and council will be officially sworn in early this August and will have their first regular meeting in September.