NEWS

Quebec Crees re-elect Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come

07/26/2013 10:26 EDT | Updated 09/25/2013 05:12 EDT
The Crees of northern Quebec re-elected Matthew Coon Come as Grand Chief, after almost 6,000 Cree voters went to the polls Thursday in the second round of voting.

This will be Coon Come's second consecutive term. He has served as Grand Chief for a total of 18 years and as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations from 2000 to 2003.

His opponent in the run-off was the current Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff. A run-off election became necessary in both the races for grand chief and deputy grand chief when no candidate received 50 per cent plus one in the vote.

Coon Come said it was his years of experience that made the difference for voters.

"I think they have confidence in me when I talk about engaging the youth and challenging the youth to make them understand the opportunities that exist through the agreements so they can prepare themselves," he said.

Voters also elected Rodney Mark as Deputy Grand Chief. Mark is currently the chief of Wemindji, Que.

The voting process was complicated by two telecommunications failures.

During the first round of voting, a broken fibre optic line cut most telephone and internet service to five of the Cree communities. This caused difficulties in the tabulation of the votes. This year's election was also to have featured voting by telephone in addition to paper ballots.

During the second round of voting yesterday, internet service was down in three communities.

Forty-six per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots Thursday.

MORE:cbcNews