Byelection candidates gear up to get the vote out

A pair of candidates have emerged in the race to replace outgoing Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Chief Bart Goodleaf after nominations were held last weekend.

Stephen Angus McComber is running in his second byelection in less than a month. The 66-year-old Corrections Canada employee was defeated by Iohahiio Delisle on November 5, and he’s running again.

The self-described “seed-saver” said his main platform is food security and ensuring renewable access to food sources in perpetuity.

“I think it’s the most important thing that we can do as people and it’s something I’ve learned a lot about,” he said. “I’ve travelled to conferences across North America and it’s something that I think has a lot of importance.”

He also said the community can also benefit from his knowledge as an elder – as well as his experience at Corrections Canada.

“Definitely,” he said. “I think that I have learned a lot of my 17 years there about how to work as a team and work toward a greater goal. That teamwork is something I will be able to bring to council if I am elected.”

McComber added he would like to put in place more programs for seniors.

“There isn’t enough attention paid to our elders and we need to do more for them,” he said.

His opponent will be Bobbi Dee Deere.

The 49-year-old self-employed entrepreneur said she is running because she thinks she can help the community move forward.

“I don’t have a specific platform,” she said. “How could I when we have so much going on. Everything needs amendments and special attention. The housing scandal, the industry, taxation, our elders, education, land claims, membership and residency, the list is endless. There are stories of a lot of stores not honouring our (tax-exempt) cards. Who’s fighting for us?”

Deere said it she would be a voice for the disenfranchised in Kahnawake.

“I’ll work for the people. I’ll fight for them. I’m not shy to give my opinions. Whatever the needs of the people are I will take it on with everything I’ve got. I am a doer and when I set my mind to something I do it to the best of my abilities. My one true goal is for us to start working together in a respectful way, no matter what our beliefs. When we can work together there’s nothing that can stop us.” she said. “It’s not easy to put yourself out there, but because our community means so much to me, I’m willing to go the distance and take every that comes with it. I know not everyone votes, and I understand why, but if the community wants to see true change please come out -- your vote will make a difference.”

The byelection’s special advanced poll will be held November 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Golden Age Club (letters of intent must be submitted by November 28.)

The regular byelection ballot will be held December 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Golden Age Club.

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase