Squamish Nation members to vote on governance in a referendum

New rules will 'modernize' council: Nation spokesman

The Squamish Nation is holding a referendum on how it governs, including how many councillors can make up its council.

The referendum also gives members the power to directly elect the council chair and introduces strict conduct rules for those seeking to hold office.

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"It is a generational change which members have asked for, for decades.  It has been a long road to get here.  This decision will have an impact on future elections for our people and hopefully create more access by reducing barriers," said Coun. Khelsilem, spokesperson for Squamish Nation.  "I urge everyone to vote and make their voice heard."

 Members can also vote on whether they want a partial ward system; one councillor for the Squamish Valley, one for the North Shore and one elected by members living away from these communities.

"The Squamish Nation Election Commission held two years of consultations and in its final report, proposed a significant modernization to the system which has been in place since 1981," reads a press release from the Nation sent out Wednesday.

 The Squamish Nation's 2,997 registered electors will have three ways to vote; electronic balloting, a mail-in ballot, and in-person voting.  Voting will run until Dec. 6.

Under the proposed new election rules — the Squamish Nation Election and Referendum Law — only Squamish Nation members can contribute funds to election campaigns. 


Donations from unions or businesses, even those owned by Squamish Nation members, will be banned if the election law is passed.

"We want the elections to be free of outside influence and focus solely on individual Squamish Nation members being involved in the process.  We think the new election law does that," said Dave Jacobs, Nation elder and electoral commissioner in the release. "The law also outlines conduct which would see a member barred from running for office — such as indictable criminal offenses including an impaired driving conviction in the previous 10 years."


Exact referendum questions

*Do you approve of the new election rules called the "Squamish Nation Election and Referendum Law" delivered to membership on September 18, 2018?

*Do you want to elect the "Band Manager"?

*Do you want to elect the Chair of Council?

*Do you want one councillor elected by Members living in the Squamish Valley, one councillor elected by Members living on the North Shore of Vancouver and one Councillor elected by Members living away from these communities?

*Do you want the size of the Council to be 16 councillors or 8 councillors?






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