Pauline Frost elected Vuntut Gwitchin chief, pending recount

Pauline Frost has been elected as the new chief of Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation government. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada)

Frost has a 3-vote margin over Bruce Charlie; automatic recount to happen Thursday

Pauline Frost has been elected as the new chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation government.

According to results from Monday night’s election, Frost received 68 votes, narrowly defeating her opponents Bruce Charlie (65 votes) and Paul Josie (64 votes).

A fourth candidate, Bonnee Bingham, finished with 13 votes.

The results are pending an automatic recount within three days. Gyde Shepherd, communications manager with the Vuntut Gwitchin Government, said the recount will happen on Thursday in the presence of the four candidates or their representatives.

Frost’s victory marks a return to political office for the former Liberal MLA for the Vuntut Gwitchin riding.

In a post to Facebook Monday night, Frost thanked her family and “all those that supported on this new journey, mahsi choo for believing in me.”

She also thanked Josie and Bingham for their “commitment and time on the VGG council. Your dedication is much appreciated and valued by many.”

As for the automatic recount, she said she values the election rules.

“I too have great respect for the process and those that worked the polls for this election, and will patiently wait for the recount,” Frost wrote.

Charlie, who finished second in Monday’s vote count, said elections are always close in his community.

“I am not really concerned about the recount because we always have a small number of voters and the numbers are always low,” Charlie said.

Former MLA lost tie-breaking draw

A former cabinet minister, Frost was defeated in the 2021 territorial election, when she found herself tied in votes with the NDP candidate, Annie Blake. The riding went to the NDP when Blake’s name was drawn from a box — a rare step taken under Yukon election law when a recount confirms a tie.

Frost succeeds former Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm, who announced this year he would not seek another term. This month, Tizya-Tramm was elected as a trustee to the territory’s new First Nation School Board.

Monday night’s election did not see ballots cast for councillors. While there are four positions, two candidates were acclaimed: Jeneen Njootli and Debra-Leigh Reti.

According to a Facebook post by the Vuntut Gwitchin government, a public meeting will be held where elders will recommend candidates to fill the vacant positions, as per Article VIII of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Constitution. That meeting will be on Nov. 29.

The new council will be sworn in on Jan. 11.

CBC News

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