NEWS RELEASE · 4th August 2011
Nisga'a Lisims Government
GITLAXT’AAMIKS (NEW AIYANSH), BC After a lively session of debate, the Legislature of the Nisga’a Nation, Wilp Si’ayuukhl Nisga’a (WSN), unanimously passed key amendments to the Nisga’a Elections Act that set even higher standards of conduct on Nisga’a legislators and increase Nisga’a citizens access to voting locations during Nisga’a elections. “In response to public sentiment, Nisga’a Nation is upholding the highest level of governance and accountability through sweeping changes to the Nisga’a Elections Act” stated President Mitchell Stevens.
On Friday July 29, 2011, WSN enacted several amendments to the Nisga’a Elections Act which strengthen the accountability requirements for members of WSN. The amendments require elected members of WSN to resign from certain offices if they wish to serve as elected members of their Village Governments. “This requirement establishes an even higher onus on our elected members to avoid potential conflicts of interest than currently applies to local governments in the provincial context. We’re not like other governments with delegated authorities” stated President Mitchell Stevens.
The amendments also enable the Executive of Nisga’a Lisims Government to prescribe one or more additional voting locations to allow Nisga’a citizens to vote on general voting day in locations in addition to the current seven voting areas. “This amendment further expands the reach of the services of the Nisga’a Elections Officer into areas such as Prince George.
Previously, the laws have enabled citizens in those areas to participate in Nisga’a elections by mail in ballot. Now those Nisga’a citizens will be able to attend in person at a voting location just like Nisga’a citizens in Vancouver, Terrace and Prince Rupert. Just as our Treaty provides, our governance is continuing to evolve” stated President Stevens.
In his comments to the legislature, President Stevens stated “I want to congratulate you today. The debate was lively, and in the end you carried out your fiduciary obligations by acting in the best interests of the Nisga’a Nation using the powers vested in you by your constituents. You have risen to the occasion which is exactly why the voters put you here.”
“Today’s debate was challenging, but the resulting changes to our electoral system show that we are on the path to realizing the dreams of our elders” stated President Stevens.