CHARLOTTETOWN — A Federal Court judge has ruled that regulations blocking off-reserve members of a P.E.I. First Nation from taking part in band elections are contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Abegweit First Nation has three reserves on the Island — in Morell, Scotchford and Rocky Point — but about half its members live off-reserve.
The band's election regulations prevented anyone who had not lived on-reserve for the six months prior to an election from voting for chief and band councillors, or from running for those positions.
Justice Paul Favel ruled that the equality rights of off-reserve members were violated and ordered the rules to be changed, with the exception of how they apply to choosing a chief.
Candidates for chief must have lived on-reserve for the six months prior to an election, and agree to reside on-reserve during their elected term.
A band council election set for April 17 was put on hold while the judicial review was heard. A new date has not been set.
The Canadian Press