At the polls

Wendy Mirasty and her sister Holly, right before voting at the Prince Albert Inn. Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald

Wendy Mirasty is an amateur actress. She performed in last weekend’s production of Rez Sisters. But this Friday, she waded into a drama with much higher stakes: election day for the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.

The run-up to the vote has been marked by controversy, after several prospective candidates received letters saying they couldn’t run. The past council passed a regulation saying members with debts to the band couldn’t stand for election, since they’d be in a conflict of interest if they won. Rallies, petitions and insults followed – but the band leadership held firm.

As Wendy prepared to vote in Salon A of the Prince Albert Inn, she said she wants leaders who can unite the band.

“We shouldn’t have divisions in our community,” she said. “I am voting for people who want to see a good community, a healthy community.”

She didn’t reveal who that might be, and wished all candidates the best of luck. Incumbent chief Tammy Cook-Searson is seeking a fifth term, and facing four challengers. There are more than 40 candidates running for council positions.

This election is the first time that band members had a chance to vote in Prince Albert. The returning officer in charge of the Prince Albert Inn poll, Sandra McKenzie, said the feedback has been excellent – both on Friday and during advance polls on March 22nd.

“There’s a lot of people who came in for advance polls,” she said. “They were really happy it’s here because they need to go to work. To travel back to La Ronge to get this done is impossible for them.”

For more on this story, see the April 1 print or e-edition of the Prince Albert Daily Herald.