APTN National News
A woman who ran for chief of her community of Lake St. Martin last summer is appealing her loss and said vote buying was to blame.
“This has to stop, this vote buying,” said Roseanne Beardy. “This corruption. It’s corrupting our people. And I don’t want our young people to grow up to think that this is normal. This is common. That this is right.”
She believes vote buying is a common practice in Lake St. Martin and stayed away from getting involved with it.
“It’s happened so many times before. This is nothing new for our First Nation, vote buying, you know, it’s common knowledge. And this is what bothers me. This is what really bothers me.”
Beardy is now appealing the election’s outcome which was won by incumbent Chief Adrian Sinclair. Soon after being nominated she said she began receiving messages on social media asking her if she was buying ballots.
“I have a conscience. I said I don’t believe in vote buying. I will never buy anybody. It’s like buying a person. No, I refused.”
But a report done by investigator Bob Norton revealed that money did exchange hands for ballots. Norton details several, including an interview with a man named Scott Beardy.
Scott Beardy attended a barbeque for the Lake St. Martin community last spring in Winnipeg.
The report states that Scott approached Chief Adrian Sinclair whom he knew and said he wanted to sell his ballot.
After following instructions given by Sinclair, Scott was given $300.
The going rate for ballots there are around $200, said Beardy.
The investigation found several other instances of vote buying.
The report’s executive summary concludes “that some candidates in the election and appeal process were corrupt in that they purchased mail in ballots.” And “May have committed perjury” when testifying to Norton “Contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada.”
Beardy is pleased with the report but regrets the online abuse that she’s endured.
“You know, it’s just sticks and stones to me. I’m doing the right thing. I’m doing it for the right reasons.”
She’s hoping INAC will call for a re-election and then she will run again for chief.
“And for Indigenous and Northern Affairs to not allow them to run again for six years. Teach them a lesson. That this is going to stop.”
APTN calls to contact Chief Sinclair to comment were unsuccessful.
He and his council have until March 7 to respond to the allegations made in the report.