With allegations of candidates buying votes with alcohol and drugs one has to wonder how much credibility the elections last week in Sheshatshiu and Natuashish will have as the Innu Nation moves towards self-government.
The media has been reporting all week about this election and has gone so far to interview community members, who by their own admission and first hand accounts have been to several house parties where candidates or their supporters have offered alcohol and drugs to perspective voters.
All of this begs the question, where is the Electoral Officer who oversees elections in these communities? More importantly, why hasn’t Aboriginal Affairs stepped in to monitor the situation? If anything calls for Third Party Management this is clearly the case.
Compounding the dire situation is gas sniffing, which has reared its ugly head again in Natuashish, where youth are openly sniffing gas, talking to media under the influence of the inhalant, all quite frankly under the nose of those seeking to be elected or re-elected.
Yet none of the candidates in this election have been willing to address that issue or the other of voter influencing, yet they all know who is doing the influencing, but will not come out and say who it is, they just say we are running a clean campaign. And certainly no one is saying anything of the gas sniffing by the youth of the communities.
Many of the youth say they began sniffing gas this time because of pressure of the elections. Some of them are as young as 11 years old. One youth from Natuashish says he began as early as five and still does gas sniffing occasionally as well as other drugs.
It is time that the elected officials stand up and get serious about the duties entrusted in them by community members and do their jobs by truly represent the people.
They need work to get their youth to get off drugs and alcohol and to do their job with integrity. If not, then maybe it is time for Aboriginal Affairs to step in with Third Party Management and clean this situation up before another generation is lost to alcohol and drugs.