Brendan Mitchell new chief of Qalipu First Nation

Brendan Mitchell was elected chief of Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band Oct. 23/Photo courtesy Twitter.com/PaulAntleNL.

The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band in Newfoundland and Labrador has a new chief.

Brendan Mitchell, who previously served as the Corner Brook ward councillor, received 2,760 votes, beating out incumbent Brendan Sheppard who received 1,730 votes. Shane Snook, the third candidate vying for the top position, received only 241 votes.

Erica Samms-Hurley was elected as the Western Vice Chief with 2,318 votes and Joseph Bouzanne was elected as the Central Vice Chief with 285 votes.

The Qalipu Band held its election on October 23. Band members were given a choice to vote by mail-in ballot or in person at one of nine polling stations throughout the province.

The following people were elected to council:

  • Benoit’s Cove ward: Bernard White (re-elected with 264 votes)
  • Corner Brook ward: Brian Dicks (1,273 votes)
  • Exploits ward: Andrew Baker (acclaimed)
  • Flat Bay ward: Ben Bennett (re-elected with 118 votes)
  • Gander Bay ward: Calvin Francis (acclaimed)
  • Glenwood ward: Francis Skeard (re-elected with 113 votes)
  • Port au Port ward: Jasen Benwah (acclaimed)
  • Stephenville ward: Gerard Alexander (208 votes)

More than 14,000 Qalipu band members were eligible to vote in Friday’s election. Voter turnout was approximately at 34 per cent.

This is the second band election for Qalipu since it received official band status from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada in 2011.

According to Qalipu’s 2014-2015 audit posted on AANDC’s website, the yearly salary for the chief’s position is approximately $96,000. The salaries for vice chief and ward councillor positions range between $5,800-$7,400.


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About Maureen Googoo 174 Articles

Maureen Googoo is an award-winning journalist from Indian Brook First Nation (Sipekne’katik) in Nova Scotia. She has worked in news for 30 years for media outlets such as CBC Radio, the Chronicle-Herald and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

Maureen has an arts degree in political science from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, a post-graduate degree in journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.