Federal court judge rules in favour of Acho Dene Koe First Nation member’s complaint about election delay
A federal court judge has ruled that the N.W.T. Acho Dene Koe First Nation chief and council overstepped their powers when they extended their term of office last year. The judgment could have ramifications for other First Nations whose elections were postponed or cancelled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Acho Dene Koe First Nation government offices are in Fort Liard, N.W.T., where most of its 550 or so members also live. The First Nation is not governed by Indian Act regulations around the election of chief and council. Through a series of resolutions passed by the Acho Dene Koe First Nation between April 20 and Dec. 7, 2020, a regular election for chief and council scheduled for June 8, 2020 was postponed until April 14, 2021, and then later to April 21 after an outbreak of COVID-19 in the community of Fort Liard, N.W.T. Regulations authorized deferral, chief and council say Chief and council justified the deferral of the election — and the extension of their terms of office — by saying they were able to do so according to their own customs, and that they were authorized to do so under the First Nations Election Cancellation and Postponement Regulations which came into force on April 8, 2020. That temporary regulatory option under the Indian Act and the First Nations Election Act was introduced by the federal government to protect the health of First Nations communities during the pandemic. In a statement at the time, Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller said, “We have recommended that First Nations with upcoming elections not proceed with elections at this time, due to the current public health risks associated with large gatherings.” The regulations, Miller stated, allowed “First Nations leaders to continue exercising their roles and duties within their communities for up to six months, with a potential extension for an additional six months, as they focus on keeping their communities safe in the face of COVID-19.” Federal Court Justice Sébastien Grammond acknowledged in his April 1 ruling that those regulations allowed First Nations whose elections are governed by the Indian Act and the First Nations Elections act, to “cancel or postpone elections and to extend the term of their council” in light of the public health emergency. The council of Acho Dene Koe First Nation did not have the power to extend its own term of office. – Federal Court Justice Sébastien Grammond Section 4 of those regulations allow for a First Nation governed by its own custom election code, such as the Acho Dene Koe First Nation, to do the same “if it is necessary to prevent, mitigate or control the spread of diseases on its reserve, even if custom does not provide for such a situation.” Legal challenge claimed section of regulations invalid But on Oct. 22, 2020, Acho Dene Koe First Nation member and former chief Floyd Bertrand filed a legal challenge to chief and council’s decision to postpone the election, arguing, among other things, that the regulations outlined in Section 4 are invalid, and that Acho Dene Koe election customs do not allow chief and council to extend their terms, or to postpone an election. Justice Grammond agreed with Bertrand on both counts. “Acho Dene Koe’s customary law requires elections to take place every three years and does not authorize the council to extend its own term of office,” Grammond wrote. “The council of Acho Dene Koe First Nation did not have the power to extend its own term of office.” In reaching this conclusion, Grammond considered and rejected arguments made by the First Nation in support of its authority to extend terms of office. Among those arguments was the notion that under principles of self-government, the Acho Dene Koe were within their rights to be flexible on election customs. But Grammond wrote that “self-government does not translate into unlimited powers for First Nations councils.” “Rather, where First Nations have not enacted positivistic laws, self-government manifests itself through the broad consensus of the community.” Fort Liard, N.W.T., is the base for Acho Dene Koe First Nation.(Alex Brockman/CBC) Grammond cited the three-year term of the previous four elections in the community as evidence for a three-year term being the Acho Dene Koe custom. Grammond found no evidence of broad community support for the idea that council could extend its term of office without an election. “Any assertion of ‘flexibility’ or an open-ended power to extend the term of office must be tested against what we know of the community’s views…. Acho Dene Koe members expect to have the opportunity to choose their leaders at fixed intervals,” Grammond wrote. “For more than a decade, the interval has been three years.” Section 4 of regulations invalid: Justice After concluding Acho Dene Koe customs do not allow for council to extend its term of office, Grammond considered arguments around the notion that the First Nation was authorized under Section 4 of the First Nations Election Cancellation and Postponement Regulations to make the extension in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. After reviewing case law, Justice Grammond concluded that the federal cabinet overstepped its powers under the Indian Act when it enacted the regulations, and that Section 4 of the regulations — Elections According to Custom — is invalid, regardless of how well-intended the regulations or their application may be. Grammond wrote that despite the government’s intention to fight the pandemic by allowing First Nations to cancel or postpone elections, it did not have the right to do so under the Indian Act. Fixed or maximum terms of office are crucial components of democracy. – Federal Court Justice Sébastien Grammond “In a nutshell, the government is asking me to tolerate an invalid exercise of power because it was done for a good reason,” Grammond wrote. “This is simply incompatible with the rule of law, which requires that every exercise of state power find its source in legal rule … Going down that road would involve courts in giving their blessing, after the fact, to unlawful government action based on its desirability from a policy perspective.” By ruling Section 4 invalid, Justice Grammond did not have to consider other objections raised by Bertrand regarding the application of the regulations in Fort Liard. In his judgment, Grammond noted that “for members of the many First Nations who have chosen to select their leaders by democratic means, the ability to vote is a fundamental interest…. Fixed or maximum terms of office are crucial components of democracy.” In his decision, Grammond ruled that with elections in Fort Liard among Acho Dene Koe members expected shortly, there was no need to quash the original decision to extend the term of council’s office. Other First Nation members may have been deprived of right to vote Grammond wrote that, despite the close proximity of the election to his ruling, which could be understood to render the need for a ruling moot, he took on the case for its other merits. First, Grammond wrote that the case would “clarify important issues with respect to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on First Nation’s electoral processes” in the context of the validity of the First Nations Election Cancellation and Postponement Regulations. Second, Grammond wrote that the case clarified the Acho Dene Koe First Nation’s right to postpone elections in the future, if the regulations in question are renewed. Grammond wrote that he was asked by the attorney general to suspend his decision on the invalidity of the regulations for 90 days, while Bertrand asked for any suspension to not exceed 30 days. “I am sensitive to the implications of this judgment not only on the federal government, but also on First Nations that may have availed themselves of the powers granted by the Regulations and will have to hold elections on short notice,” Grammond wrote. “On the other hand, I cannot ignore the fact that members of such First Nations have been illegally deprived of the opportunity to vote for the selection of their leaders.” Grammond suspended the declaration of invalidity for 60 days, as of April 1.
Boston Bruins Add Offense With Solid Taylor Hall Trade – Boston Hockey Now
The Boston Bruins clearly understood they had serious deficiencies on their NHL roster this season and credit them for going and doing something about it.
The B’s finished off their Sunday night fireworks ahead of the NHL trade deadline by sending a second round pick and Anders Bjork to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for top-6 winger Taylor Hall and bottom-6 forward Curtis Lazar. TSN’s Darren Dreger, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and ESPN’s John Buccigross were the first to report about the completed deal between the Bruins and Buffalo Sabres in the hours following the B’s getting stomped by the Washington Capitals, 8-1, at TD Garden.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 12, 2021
The Buffalo Sabres retained half of the $8 million salary that Hall signed for prior to the start of the 2021 hockey season.
After acquiring Hall @ 50% & Lazar for Bjork, the #NHLBruins added $772K Cap Hit for remainder of year.
They have $24K of Projected Cap Space; $100K Annual Cap Hit that can be added, w/ 24 Active on Roster. Sending players to taxi would create more room.https://t.co/2o0hsHzUIy https://t.co/rXiRKKk3lt pic.twitter.com/I7ZRUSmSQp
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) April 12, 2021
The 29-year-old Hall is having a terrible season in Buffalo with just two goals and 19 points in 37 games along with a minus-21 rating after he chose to sign a one-year deal with the Sabres during the offseason. But he brings legitimate offensive talent as a former No. 1 overall pick and Hart Trophy winner to a Boston Bruins team that’s ranked in the bottom third of the NHL offensively all season.
The Bruins were one of the suitors for Hall prior to him choosing the Sabres months ago, and now they get him for a deep discount while keeping their own first round picks after making their deadline deals.
Holding onto their own first round pick was a priority for Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney after spending first rounders at the deadline in two of the last three deadlines in trades for damaged goods Rick Nash and Ondrej Kase.
The 26-year-old Lazar has five goals and 11 points in 33 games as a bottom-6 forward for the Sabres this season and is signed for $800,000 for next season. It seemed clear that something was going on with the 24-year-old Anders Bjork over the last couple of weeks as he was a healthy scratch for five straight games, including Sunday night against Washington, and heads to Buffalo hoping to further develop a game built on speed and skill level that hasn’t translated into offense as of yet.
Hall should fit right into the top-6 with the Bruins as a skilled winger for playmaking center David Krejci, but it remains to be seen how he’s going to fit as another left winger on a team with Nick Ritchie and Jake DeBrusk.
Either Ritchie or DeBrusk is going to have to play the off wing with a Krejci/Hall combo, but that’s a problem that Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will gladly figure out after being forced to piece together lineups all season due to injuries and offensive inconsistency. With the acquisition of Hall, Lazar and left-handed defenseman Mike Reilly on Sunday night, it would appear the Boston Bruins are largely done with deals ahead of Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
Interestingly enough, the Boston Bruins are set to play the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Drouin must return to mentality that’s led to success this season – Sportsnet.ca
It was something Dominique Ducharme said after his Montreal Canadiens played an abysmal game against the Ottawa Senators last week, something that only truly resonated after they lost 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday — a game that emboldened the struggle Jonathan Drouin’s currently enduring.
“Ninety per cent of the mistakes we made were mental, and the rest of it was above our shoulders.” the coach said after the 6-3 loss to Ottawa last Saturday, somewhat channelling New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra with this bit of wit and wisdom.
It was hard not to think of those words watching Drouin play the way he did on Wednesday. For much of this season, the talented left winger has played a primary role in Montreal’s success. He’s led them with 19 assists, been tenacious on the forecheck, physically engaged all over the ice, cerebral as always in his execution and, as he’s said on several occasions, relatively unconcerned by whether or not his name has been featured on the scoresheet.
But it seemed clear, after watching Drouin dump a breakaway into Jack Campbell’s chest with one of 32 shots the Maple Leafs goaltender turned aside to set a franchise record with his 10th consecutive win, he had diverted from that. And that affected the way he played the rest of the game.
It was Drouin’s fifth in a row without a point, his 18th without a goal, and he’d have to be a robot not to be suffering the mental wear of not seeing the puck go in more than twice since the season started, the torment of seeing only three per cent of his shots hit the back of the net through 36 games after 10 per cent of them resulted in goals through the first 348 games of his career.
“It is weighing on me where, when I have a chance and miss the goal, I might be trying to score too much,” Drouin said. “It’s something I obviously think about — every player would — and I’ve just gotta put it past me and just keep shooting pucks.”
Ideally, the 26-year-old wouldn’t be thinking about any of this. These are thoughts that weigh a player down and right now the Canadiens are in tough without Brendan Gallagher for the rest of the season and Drouin needs to be light and free to help account for that loss. And in order for him to do that, he needs to focus on what he does best.
Because the reality is that even though Drouin can score more, scoring isn’t what he needs to do in order to be at his best and really help this team.
“When his feet are moving and he’s making plays, Drou’s a pass-first guy,” explained Jake Allen, who made 29 saves in Carey Price’s absence. “When his feet are moving, his head’s always in it. When his feet are moving, he’s controlling the play, controlling the puck. He’s a guy who really can control the play for a whole line. You want the puck on that guy’s stick and let the other guys do the dirty work and he’ll find them.”
But when Drouin’s feet aren’t moving, there just isn’t enough of that other stuff happening.
When Drouin’s feet weren’t moving, he lost a battle for the puck in the offensive zone and allowed the NHL’s leading goal scorer to start the rush that resulted in the winning play of Wednesday’s game.
Auston Matthews to Mitch Marner, back to Matthews, off Allen and slammed into Montreal’s net by Zach Hyman with 9:39 remaining in the third period, with Drouin watching from just inside his own blue line.
“You give a 3-on-2 to the Matthews line and it’s the kind of play they’re going to make you pay on,” said Ducharme.
Was Drouin still thinking about that shot he didn’t bury in the second period?
It’s understandable if he was, but those are the kind of thoughts he needs to shake right now.
“He wants to do well, and I’m sure it’s getting a little bit in his head,” said Ducharme. “I think the best remedy for him is to be scoring that goal or making that big play, and I think he’s going to be energized by that and less thinking, more acting.
“It is a fine line. Those kind of thoughts is not something that you want to happen. But when you receive that puck and you see the opening and stuff, (the slump) comes back to (your mind). That’s why the mental part of the game is something that’s very tricky. It’s not his will to be thinking that way. Every player who’s going through a time like that will have that thought and scoring that goal will take him to a different level. At those kind of times you need to make it even simpler and being even more inside going at the net and finding a garbage (goal) right there and you put it in and sometimes you go on a little run. It might be that kind of goal that he needs to get that monkey off his back.”
It’s the kind of goal Corey Perry scored twice to give the Canadiens a chance in this game.
But Drouin isn’t Perry, who rightly pointed out after the game he’s made a career of scoring goals that way. And even if Drouin can borrow from what Perry does next time he has a chance like the one Brett Kulak set him up with for that breakaway, there are other ways he can positively impact the game.
You can appreciate that Drouin said he’s putting pressure on himself to score more and help make up for the goals the team will be missing with Gallagher sidelined, but that might not get him to where he needs to be mentally to contribute as much as he already has this season.
What would, though, is a sharp turn towards the mentality he described just days ago. The one that’s enabled him to be a much more consistent player this season than he has in seasons past.
“When I was younger, I’d stay on one game or stay on one play for too long and wouldn’t be able to let it go for a bit or a couple of days,” Drouin said. “But I think for me now it’s can I look at myself in the mirror after a game and did I give my good effort? Was I a part of this game? Was I doing something right in a lot of areas?
“That’s what I do now. I think points are there, goals are there, assists are there, but it’s just about playing that real game and playing to help your team win.”
Drouin’s done a lot of that this season and has a chance to get right back to it when the Winnipeg Jets visit the Bell Centre Thursday.
Scioscia to lead U.S. baseball bid for spot at Tokyo Olympics
(Reuters) – Mike Scioscia, who won World Series both as a player and manager, was named manager of the U.S. men’s national baseball team on Tuesday, as they seek a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.
After 19 seasons as manager of the Anaheim Angels, guiding them to their only World Series win in 2002, Scioscia will make his international coaching debut in June when the United States hosts the Baseball Americas Qualifier in Florida.
For the tournament the U.S. will be grouped with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua in Pool A while Canada, Colombia, Cuba, and Venezuela will make up Pool B.
The top two teams from each pool will advance to the Super Round, where the country with the best overall record will earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympic tournament.
Second and third-place finishers will advance to a final qualifier, joining Australia, China, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.
“Mike’s tenure with the Angels’ franchise was nothing short of spectacular, creating and celebrating a culture of success with six division titles, an American League pennant, and its first-ever World Series title,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler in a statement. “More impactfully, his leadership, integrity, and character are unparalleled in our game, making him the perfect fit for the USA Baseball family.”
The Olympic tournament will take place from July 28-Aug. 7 in Fukushima City and Yokohama.
Hosts Japan, Israel, South Korea, and Mexico have already secured a berth in the six-team field.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)
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