Friday, August 22, 2014
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4 candidates vie for chief of Kwanlin Dun First Nation

Election Wednesday for chief and council

CBC News

Yukon's Kwanlin Dun First Nation goes to the polls Wednesday to elect a chief and six councillors.

Four candidates are seeking the job as chief and 17 are vying for the councillor positions.

As one of the largest land owners within the City of Whitehorse, the Kwanlin Dun First Nation plays an increasingly significant role in any land use decisions.

Some members say the First Nation has slacked off on its obligations when it comes to land planning and that outgoing chief Rick O'Brien hasn't maintained relations with the municipal and Yukon governments.

Doris Bill, one of the candidates vying for chief, defends O'Brien's record but says work does need to be done on government to government relations.

"We have citizens involved in 15 different working groups and committees, but externally, that's where we fell down," she said.

"That kind of relationship is very important. We need to keep the communication lines open, and we need to communicate with the larger community because they are interested in what's going on at Kwanlin Dun. We live in the City of Whitehorse and we can't shut them out."

Other candidates for chief say leadership has been poor, and accountability needs to be bolstered.

Wayne Jim says he would hold chief and council meetings at the Potlatch House and welcome members to view proceedings, "to try and get the community to participate for one, to try and build a community, a good healthy community, together, and and to try and brainstorm on some of the plans with economic development and social development."

Other chief candidates declined to be interviewed by CBC News. Jennifer Edzerza and Raymond Sydney said they were too busy to speak to the media.

Other issues facing the new chief will be economic development and education - and social problems such as drug dealing and unemployment.  

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