This story originally said that candidate Alexander MacLeod was disqualified from the ballot based on incorrect information provided by Métis Nation of Alberta election officials. Said officials have since clarified that MacLeod voluntarily withdrew as a candidate on Sept. 11. The Gazette apologizes for the error.
St. Albert residents have picked Alfred L’Hirondelle to represent them in Alberta’s new Métis government.
Del Graff, chief electoral officer for the Métis Nation of Alberta, announced Sept. 20 Alfred L’Hirondelle of St. Albert won the 2023 District 11 election for citizens’ representative.
Thousands of Métis Albertans voted in person, online, and by mail from Sept. 13 to 19 in the inaugural Otipemisiwak Métis Government general election. The election selected representatives to serve on a provincial council that will create policy and programs for the Otipemisiwak government, which will interact with other legislative bodies on various issues related to the Métis.
St. Albert was part of District 11 in the election, which also included Morinville and about half of Sturgeon County. On the ballot were St. Albert residents Luc Gauthier, L’Hirondelle, and Gwenn Thiele. (Alexander MacLeod withdrew as a candidate on Sept. 11.)
District 11 saw the highest turnout of any district in the election with some 820 votes cast, preliminary results showed. L’Hirondelle won about 43 per cent of the vote (356 votes), with Thiele claiming about 39 per cent (316) and Gauthier getting 18 per cent (148).
L’Hirondelle said the results came in at about 3 a.m. on Sept. 20, many hours after polls closed. He had invited some friends to his home watch the numbers come in on the Métis Nation of Alberta’s livestream, but by the time they were posted, the only ones still there were his wife and daughter.
“When they saw the numbers, they were jumping up all excited,” L’Hirondelle said, adding it took him a bit longer to comprehend what he was seeing.
L’Hirondelle credited his decades of experience working in policy development and with Indigenous communities for his win. As for the turnout, he said the historic nature of this election and the work of the St. Albert-Sturgeon County Métis Local #1904 likely helped get people to the polls.
L’Hirondelle said he and the other winning candidates will be sworn in on Oct. 15 prior to their first meeting on Oct. 16, where they will discuss issues such as budgets. His priority during his four-year term as representative will be to connect with local governments and organizations to explain the new Otipemisiwak government. He will also work with a yet-to-be-elected district captain to address policy issues raised by District 11 residents.
“We need to know what the issues are out there,” he said.
L’Hirondelle was one of 30 people elected or acclaimed to the Otipemisiwak government last week, including president-elect Andrea Sandmaier, who beat candidate Joseph Pimlott 5,693 to 2,131.
Official election results will soon be posted to www.metiselectionsab.com.