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Lake Babine Nation councillor resigns before being sworn in

Paul Joseph steps down before being sworn in

A newly elected Lake Babine Nation (LBN) councillor has stepped down before being sworn in.

Paul Joseph, who was elected to represent the Tachet community, did not attend LBN’s swearing in ceremony on July 4, which included the presence of approximately 10 protestors.

According to former Tachet councillor Mildred George, who joined protesters during the event, the protesters were drumming to take a stand against candidates with criminal records.

Although The Globe and Mail reported that Joseph was convicted of sexual assault over 15 years ago, Lakes District News was not able to independently verify this information by press time.

The nation’s current election code does not prevent a person with a criminal record from running for elected office, but George says the election code is currently being revised. Although the revised version is expected to be completed before LBN’s annual general meeting in October, George says it likely won’t come into effect until council’s next term, which starts in 2021.

Joseph, who could not be reached for a comment by press time, was expected to fill one of the two Tachet council seats along with Shane Modine.

During the election, Joseph was tied with two incumbent candidates — Dolores Alec and Mildred George — who received 34 votes each. The incumbents lost their council spots to Joseph after the three names were put back in a ballot box and drawn.

As of press time, it was still unclear how or when the Tachet council seat would be filled.

Lake Babine Nation’s newly elected Chief Gordon Alec told Lakes District News he would not be making any comments until council figured out the next step.

Gordon became LBN’s new chief after receiving 307 votes while incumbent Wilf Adam, who was running for an unprecedented fourth straight term as chief, received 275 votes.