The first time he ran, there was no incumbent, so Brian Dicks felt little pressure in his quest to be elected Corner Brook ward councillor for the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band.
As the incumbent this time around, things were a little different.
“The last time, it was all brand new and there has been a steep learning curve about how the band works,” said Dicks, who was easily re-elected in Tuesday’s voting.
“When you’re the incumbent, you become the guy to beat, but it’s healthy and democratic.”
Dicks said he would have been OK with the electorate choosing someone else, if that’s what they wanted. He said he still would have remained involved in band activities, but he was humbled to have been given another vote of confidence to stay on the job.
As of deadline, Dicks had garnered 762 votes with only mail-in votes still left to tally. His closest competitor was Geoff Sparkes, who had 316 votes.
The full official results won’t be available until today.
Dicks wasn’t sure how the voting would turn out, considering the rather tumultuous three-year term the last council had endured. The controversy had been brewing ever since the contentious supplemental agreement of 2013 came into play. It was during the outgoing council’s term that more than 10,000 people were formally removed from the band’s founding members list and a barrage of court actions initiated.
“I had no idea how the vote was going to go because of all that, but I knew I had a strong track record based on my performance and involvement and I knew I had put together a strong platform and a good campaign,” said Dicks. “I worked hard at it and I knew I had a good shot, if people weren’t all just set on change.”
He is looking forward to continuing on with growing and developing the band with the new band council.
“I’m optimistic we will have a much smoother three years, in terms of not having as great a distraction but, at the same time, I’m not forgetting the people who were left behind,” he said. “We are going to continue to do our best to help the 10,000-plus who were disenfranchised and those who, based on ancestry, have every right to be in this band.”
The direction the band can take to help those left out will largely hinge on the outcomes of the ongoing court cases, noted Dicks.