There are 11 candidates running to be chief of Cowichan Tribes, including the incumbent Chief William Seymour, in the upcoming elections that will be held on Dec. 6.
There are also 76 candidates running for the 12 seats in the Cowichan Tribes’ council.
That’s a lot of candidates compared to local municipal elections, but Seymour said its not unusual for many candidates to run in the Cowichan Tribes elections, which are held every two years.
“This is pretty normal,” said Seymour, who has won the past three elections for chief and has served a total six years so far.
“It seems that everyone has an opinion on how things should be done but if they are right or wrong, I don’t know. Once our new election code is in place, anyone putting their name forward will have to pay a fee for the first time so we’ll see if we have so many candidates in future elections.”
The 11 running for chief are, in alphabetical order, Francine Alphonse, Harvey Alphonse, Stephanie Atleo, Craig George, Howie George, Fred Roland, Matthew Louie, William Seymour, Calvin Swustus Sr., Richard Williams and Ted Williams.
The candidates for council positions are listed in a separate sidebar.
With almost 5,000 members, and approximately 3,200 eligible voters, Cowichan Tribes is the largest First Nation in British Columbia.
Voter turnout for the elections are typically around 45 per cent, higher than local municipal elections.
Seymour said that from what he has been hearing from band members, the main issues in the election are around land use, child and family services, education and housing.
He said Cowichan Tribes has been dealing with these issues for years.
“Over the last six years, we’ve been working on water and sewer projects and ensuring easier access to hydro to make it easier for band members to get mortgages,” Seymour said.
“There’s more work to be done in that regard, but we’re getting there.”