Paul (PJ) Prosper has been elected for a second consecutive term as chief of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation in Nova Scotia.
Prosper received 139 votes while his lone opponent, former chief Gerard Julian received 122 votes. The election was held November 19.
Councillors Dolly Prosper (104 votes), Kerry Prosper (128 votes) and Anne Paul (135) were re-elected to council. New people elected to council were Molly Peters (107 votes) and Judy Julian (114 votes).
Robert Pictou was not re-elected to council.
The current chief and council’s term expires on November 26, 2015.
Prosper says his election win is an endorsement from his community to continue with his plan to improve the band’s financial situation and economic development opportunities.
“I’m just so pleased and so happy the majority of membership, you know, have voted for me to continue in that regard,” Prosper said when reached by phone Friday.
“I’m just looking forward to carrying on and moving various projects and initiatives forward, you know, for the betterment of all community members,” he said.
Since Prosper was first elected chief in November 2013, the band’s debt has been reduced from $4.4-million to $2.5-million. Paqtnkek ended the 2014-2015 fiscal year with a surplus of more than $500,000.
Prosper explains the main project in the works includes a $15-16-million development plan that involves twinning of the Trans Canada highway which will directly go through Paqtnkek. When completed, the plan will allow the band to commercially develop the land around the highway.
Prosper says he hopes the commercial development will help his community in the same way similar development did for Membertou and Millbrook First Nations in Nova Scotia.
“We have, you know, worked hard to try to keep this on track and moving forward because it’s very important element as it relates to the future of our community,” Prosper said.
According to the federal Indigenous and Northern Affairs website, the position of chief comes with an honorarium of $50,000 per year. Councillors receive an honorarium of $40,000 per year.
Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation is located 20 kilometres east of Antigonish, N.S. Paqtnkek has 406 band members on reserve and 165 band members off-reserve.