Chief Joe seeking another term

Clayton Hunt
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New school a key objective

Chief Misel Joe of Conne River is hoping for a special birthday gift on June 4.

Chief Misel Joe, 66, said that he will seek another term as Chief of the Mi’kmaq Band Council in Conne River in the June 4 election. Chief Joe is seen here speaking at the recent MOU signing between eight communities in the Coast of Bays that will work together to achieve regional goals.

Chief Misel Joe of Conne River is hoping for a special birthday gift on June 4.

That day happens to be Election Day in the Mi’kmaq community and Chief Joe, who has been involved in the political scene in the band council since 1974, hopes to win another two-year term as chief.

Chief Joe said he wants to continue working for his residents and to keep moving the community forward.

 “My work is my enjoyment. My friends and family are in this community, and I have the best of both worlds here. I can't think of any other thing I would rather do,” he told the Advertiser.

Chief Joe said, if re-elected, there are a number of issues he wants to work on during his next term.

The key objective he said will be the construction of a new school in the community.

“This is an initiative I started a while ago,” he said. “I’ve got the point system down from our being in 69th place across the country among aboriginal groups to being in 29th place for a new school.

“Our band was third in Atlantic Canada out of reserves that need a new school, and now we are number one in the four Atlantic Provinces.

“It could be two, 10 or 20 years before we see a new school here. All I can say is that I will keep lobbying the federal government to make sure we can have a new school sooner rather than later.”

Chief Joe said the band council wants to build a school that is environmentally friendly and that is based around a green plan.

“I’m not saying that other people can’t achieve this goal,” he said. “It’s just that I’ve been involved in politics in the community since 1974, and I feel that the students are all my babies now.”

If his past work is any indication, Chief Joe may see a new school in the community in the not-too-distant future.

One of his band’s most recent achievements was the establishment of a Roughrider International Ltd. office in Conne River.

Roughrider International is an energy service corporation with offices in Edmonton and Calgary. They provide rental equipment and fuel deliveries for companies working in the oil industry in Alberta.

The company recently established an office in Conne River, allowing interested persons to apply for work in Alberta.

 “One resident has already found work in Alberta through this office, and a young woman is hired to work in the office here,” said Chief Joe.

Chief Joe said another goal he may work toward is having the term of a chief’s position extended from two years to three or four years.

He said that under Bill 29, aboriginal band councils could have a chief’s position last for a four-year term.

“A two-year term is fine when you’re older, but a younger person could develop a greater sense of stability over three or four years. We could hold a referendum on this matter in the next year or so.”

 Up to the Advertiser’s deadline date on May 30, Chief Joe said he was not aware of any other resident wanting the chief’s role. As a matter of fact, he said, the community would not find out if anyone else would seek the position until June 3, which is nomination day.

 

Geographic location: Conne River, Alberta, Atlantic Canada Atlantic Provinces Edmonton Calgary

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