Dwayne Laboucan was re-elected to the position of chief by Driftpile Cree Nation (DCN) voters just before Christmas. It’s his third two-year term as chief of the first nation that is located roughly halfway between Slave Lake and High Prairie.
According to information on the DCN website, 706 ballots were cast in the Dec. 20 election. Laboucan got 260 of them, making him the easy winner out of the 11 contenders for the top job on council.
From a huge field running for the position of councillor, the nine successful candidates are Napoleon A. Collins, Stanley Isadore, Jonathan Giroux, Terry Giroux, Yvonne Henry, Caroline Isadore, Derrick Laboucan, Starr Sasakamoose and James F. Ward.
Chief Laboucan says one of the first priorities of the new term is to do away with the two-year term. It’s tough to get anything done in just two years, he says, so it will change to three or four years.
“We’re one of the last First Nations using the two-year term,” he says.
Another focus for the new term of council will be economic development.
“Maybe a truck stop,” Laboucan says. “We’re doing some research.”
Asked about relations with nearby municipalities, Laboucan says he looks forward to further developments in that area.
“There is room to improve,” he says. “It’s just a matter of how.”
Laboucan says Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman called to congratulate him on his election as chief. He looks forward to continuing the relationship. This of course is happening in the context of Laboucan calling for Driftpile to boycott Slave Lake businesses, after an alleged racist remark by a town councillor at a meeting in September. The boycott was rescinded after Warman and the CAO of the Town of Slave Lake met with Driftpile chief and council.
“We are looking to improve (relations),” Laboucan says. “And why not? We are neighbours. It’s just a matter of supporting each other and moving forward in a respectful way.”