Saturday, August 23, 2014
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Roseau River chief removed from office

By: Alexandra Paul

Winnipeg Free Press

The chief who threw the owners of a gas station out in dramatic eviction from an urban reserve outside Winnipeg has been shown the door himself.

Chief Ken Henry and three of his councillors were removed from office Tuesday afternoon, according to reports from Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation.

Henry did not answer a text message over the action.

The custom council, the First Nation’s ultimate governing body, met Tuesday and considered a delegation’s request to remove the chief and three councillors and order a financial audit of millions of dollars from an $80-million settlement.

By 4 p.m. Tuesday, custom council had granted the petition brought forward by band members. It will be up to the custom council to set dates for byelections.

Social media carried the news beyond the First Nation’s boundaries minutes later.

Winnipeg lawyer Norm Boudreau, who represents the only band councillor whom custom council left in office, confirmed the reports officially.

"It is my understanding custom council took a vote and it was 14 to six to remove all the members of the band council, except my client," Boudreau said Tuesday.

The council then authorized Boudreau’s client, band councillor Alfred Hayden, to remain in office until byelections are called.

The council authorized Hayden to hire auditors to probe the $12-million Henry’s administration spent over the last three years.

The sum represented interest on an $80-million federal settlement, which the former chief negotiated.

Hayden may withdraw his court petition now that the custom council has come forward.

Boudreau said his client is expected to make a public statement at the Law Courts Thursday morning.

About two weeks ago, Henry and his supporters staged an eviction at Red Sun Gas Bar and Smoke Shop, near the junction of the Perimeter and Highway 6.

RCMP cruisers were called in to keep the peace.

Henry removed the owners, Kathy Nelson, the daughter of former chief Terry Nelson, now the southern grand chief, as well as her two partners, and called a press conference to publicize the eviction.

Kathy Nelson took the eviction to court, where a Queen’s Bench justice granted an injunction in her favour.

The gas bar and smoke shop was back in business by last weekend. An appeal of the injunction is widely expected to be dropped.

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