Incumbent Chuck McPherson beat out runner-up Rudy Morris-seau by 80 votes in the race for Couchiching chief in last Thurs-day’s election.
Now as he begins his second-straight term, and third overall, Chief McPherson said the band council is going to continue with plans to ensure Couchiching youth have educational and recreational venues.
Council also will continue with economic development on the reserve.
“We’re going to focus on trying to establish an education facility for elementary students,” he said. “We’re going to continue to create employment development partnerships with industry.”
Defeated chief candidate Harry Morrisseau said he was disappointed by the results but hopes the interest in the campaign will send a message to the present council.
“Certainly I’m disappointed by the results of the election but am comforted by the fact that I came on strong where the community votes were counted in the end,” he said.
“To me, this means that I had support among my family, friends, and neighbours,” he added. “People wanted change and not getting a clear majority continues to send that message.”
Other candidates expressed concerns with council accountability and lack of public discussion, but Chief McPherson said his council is open and willing to discuss matters with band members.
“Our books can be scrutinized by any band member,” he said.
Re-elected as councillors last Thursday were Dick Bird, Dan Mainville, and Lucille Morrisseau. They’ll be joined by newcomers Dave Bruyere, Carolyn Jourdain, and Brian Perrault.
There were 600 votes cast, which included off-reserve band members for the first time.
The chief and councillors serve two-year terms.