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Corner Brook’s Keith Cormier elected Qalipu’s western vice-chief

Keith Cormier, the Qalipu First Nation’s new western vice-chief, watches as the election results are updated on the band’s Facebook page at the Royal Canadian Legion in Corner Brook on Tuesday night.
Keith Cormier, the Qalipu First Nation’s new western vice-chief, watches as the election results are updated on the band’s Facebook page at the Royal Canadian Legion in Corner Brook on Tuesday night. - Diane Crocker

Keith Cormier said he was humbled that the members of the Qalipu First Nation put their confidence in him in such a strong way by electing him the band’s new western vice-chief on Tuesday.

As the numbers came in that put Cormier in the lead, he said he was thinking about his grandmother and talked of visiting her at Mount Patricia Cemetery the other day to ask for her strength and support.

As of deadline, Cormier had 1313 votes while his nearest opponent — Andrew Tobin – had 863.

“And I want to use that strength and support to make good decisions for Qalipu First Nation and our members.”

Among the work to be done is getting past the controversy of the enrolment process.

Cormier said the federal government has told the band that process is finished.

“So, we know that door is not opening. So, we have to put our faith in the court cases.”

He said the Wells and Wells decision in favour of the Mi’kmaq First Nations Assembly of Newfoundland will result in the enrolment committee being reconstituted and some 57,000 applications will be looked at for self-identification.

He also said the band’s lawyers don’t think the federal government can win the Abbott case on the points system and that means a lot more people are going to come back into the band.

Cormier threw his support behind Chief Brendan Mitchell during the election campaign and with Mitchell retaining his seat it appeared to be a good decision.

He said after listening to the other two candidates — Clyde Russell and Hayward Young — he decided Mitchell was the person who could best lead the band and had the skillset necessary to lead the band.

“He knew the files better than anybody. He is not interested in going backwards. And he has a handle on where we need to go, what processes we need to put in place to tackle the federal government.”

As for what he’ll bring to the table, Cormier, who served one term as a councillor with the City of Corner Brook, said he’s been known as a consensus builder.

“I know how to disagree agreeably with people without animosity,” he said.

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