June 22nd, 2024

Federal Court hearing for Alberta First Nation to change election laws

By The Canadian Press on February 21, 2023.

EDMONTON – A woman from Saddle Lake Cree Nation is in Federal Court in Edmonton today fighting for her right to vote in band elections.

The Indigenous community about 170 kilometres northeast of Edmonton has regulations that prevent descendants of Indigenous women who have married non-status men from voting in its elections.

A hearing into a judicial application from Gail Collins to change those rules is underway.

Last week, the Federal Court ordered Whitefish Lake First Nation in northwestern Alberta to change its election regulations after two women argued that they were being discriminated against for similar reasons.

Orlagh O’Kelly, a lawyer representing Collins, is hopeful that last week’s decision will have a positive impact on her client’s case.

O’Kelly says people who are prevented from voting can face socio-economic disadvantages and a loss of culture.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2023.

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