Paul Prosper is seeking a fourth consecutive term as the chief of the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation in Nova Scotia because he wants to continue to steer the community in several ongoing initiatives such as commercial development.
“We really need to think about how this development will benefit the community,” Chief Prosper said on Thursday.
“I really want to look at programming in social areas, supporting people on social (assistance), whether it’s training or education and be able to seize the opportunities that development brings,” he said.
The incumbent chief is one of two people running for the top position in the upcoming election on Nov. 21. Prosper’s lone challenger is Gerard Julian who served as chief of Paqtnkek from 1999 until 2013. He is also running for a seat on council.
Julian declined Ku’ku’kwes News’ request for an interview.
There are a total of 21 candidates running for six seats on council. Among them include the current councillors who, like Prosper, are seeking re-election. They are:
- Judy Bernard-Julian
- Tma Francis
- Anne Marie Paul
- Darlene (Dolly) Prosper
- Kerry Prosper
Prosper looks to phase 2 of commercial development
Since first being elected as chief of Paqtnkek in 2013, Prosper says he has helped steer his community in adopting better financial and administrative policies as well as the development of the Bayside Travel Centre located along the Trans Canada highway.
According to Prosper, the Bayside Travel Centre will house the community’s gaming facilities, gas stations and convenience stores. He said those businesses coming to Paqtnkek will provide much-needed employment opportunities for community members.
If elected, Prosper says he wants to start working on the next phase of commercial development along the Trans Canada highway.
“We’re looking to what phase two would look like. For example, would it be in the area of a hotel or distribution centre or things of that nature. What is best suited to the development,” Prosper explained.
“Even though these initiatives are ongoing, there’s a lot of new components to them which means change for administration and demands along the lines of general governance as well,” he said.
Prosper says he will seek a mandate from a newly elected council to consider developing a custom election code for the community.
“It provides the community with the ability to set out its own rules and practices with respect to elections and choosing leadership,” Prosper said.
According to Paqtnkek’s financial statements for 2018-2019, the honoraria for the position of chief is $50,000 and $40,000 for each councillor.
Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation has 598 registered band members. The First Nation community is located approximately 24 kilometres east of Antigonish, N.S.