School District No. 46 (SD46) trustees have changed their election bylaw to reflect the existence of the Sechelt Indian Government District (SIGD) despite the provincial government’s reluctance to do so.
The change took place during a special SD46 board meeting on Aug. 27 where trustees discussed adoption of an updated bylaw and appointment of a chief election officer.
Staff had changed the election bylaw to relate more to the “new legislation regarding election financing,” secretary treasurer Nicholas Weswick explained.
“We’ve also done some housekeeping work to clean it up to better align with the electoral areas ministerial order. Some of the terminology was inconsistent.”
Trustee Lori Dixon, a member of the SIGD, said she had an “issue” with the electoral areas as they stood in the bylaw.
“There’s no specific mention of SIGD. It creates a bit of a problem,” Dixon said.
Weswick noted SD46 did meet with legal counsel on the issue and their advice was to “continue with past practice.”
“So that was to include the SIGD lands in with rural area two,” Weswick said.
Trustee Greg Russell noted the issue came up in the last election and that the board of the day “put forward a proposal to the government to alter our electoral areas” but the change was never made provincially because government said the SIGD was “under our electoral area description, as confusing as it is to some of the electors.”
Dixon said it’s more than just confusing for SIGD members.
“In the SIGD the voting is very light because of the fact that we’re not mentioned, and to us it says a lot of things. And so I think that just because they say ‘well you don’t really have to do it’ doesn’t mean we shouldn’t,” Dixon said.
“Show some respect to the voters in SIGD to show where they belong and so that they can find out who the people are that they have to chose to come vote for.”
Trustee Silas White agreed.
“I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t include the reality that SIGD is in rural area two in our bylaws just because someone in Victoria is out to lunch and has old paperwork that hasn’t been updated,” White said, noting he brought up the issue with the Ministry of Education during his last term as chair of the school board.
“I think we need to reflect the reality and that needs to be clear to all of our community.”
White suggested an amendment to the bylaw to include the SIGD and the entire board was in favour of the change.
The amended bylaw passed unanimously.
Trustees also appointed Weswick as the chief election officer and Erica Reimer as the deputy chief election officer for the 2014 general local elections in November.
© Coast Reporter