Our initial engagement with Lil'wat was to work with Council and Lil'wat Members to renew their strategic plan. One priority they established was to strengthen Lil'wat governance and move away from the Indian Act, one action identified was to develop a Custom Election Code. Sheldon Tetreault Consulting Ltd was engaged to assist to develop & draft the code. Our process included consultation with leaders and members to identify key issues - conducting research and analysis and subsequently presenting leaders and Members with options regarding some of the complex issues. The process took approximately 8 months.
The depth of this consultation allowed leadership and citizens to make an informed decision on policy options. Their Election Code includes: a 4 year term and an internal process for election appeals. Unique aspects includes: eligibility criteria to run for Council that includes all interested candidates must complete an orientation session to be eligible to run; candidates can only run for one position (Chief or Council); and establishment of 2 Chiefs: Political Chief & Cultural Chief.
This was Lil'wat's first pro-active referendum on a self-government initiative. As they moved to ratify their Code, we then worked with Council to develop a ratification plan. This included providing key message training for leadership and the Election committee; development of educational materials regarding the Code; and facilitating consultation meetings with on and off-reserve Members. The Election Code passed in the referendum; was subsequently approved by Ministerial Order and Lil'wat Nation is no longer under the Indian Act elections system.