Chief Paul Michel reinstated

Judicial review regarding his removal set for July 31.

Adams Lake Indian Band Chief Paul Michel

Adams Lake Indian Band Chief Paul Michel has been reinstated after being removed from his position on June 4.

The announcement from the band’s executive director, Shirley Kine, came June 14 on the heels of a Federal Court order dated the same day.

Michel will remain as chief until at least July 31, when a judicial review will be heard by the Federal Court.

The June 14 order rules on an application made to the court on June 5 by Chief Paul Michel for an injunction declaring his removal as null and void.

According to the court document, he asks for an injunction “restoring Chief Michel to his elected position of Chief for Adams Lake, requiring Adams Lake to recognize him in the office of Chief and to pay him his pay as duly elected Chief and to expedite the hearing of the judicial review, with solicitor-client costs.”

The document states that oral submissions from the band and Michel were heard in Vancouver on June 13.

As background, it states that on May 5 of this year, Nelson Leon, who ran in the Dec. 15 election when Michel was elected, filed a petition to the band’s Community Panel, stating that Michel had breached the Oath of Office and election rules.

The Community Panel consists of five elected members of the band who decide on all appeals and petitions to dispute an election or remove a band member from office. Petitions must have 10 signatures.

On May 16, stated the court document, Michel went to the Community Panel “and alleged bias and conflict of interest against each of the panel members in respect to their consideration of the petition and demanded that they all resign by the end of the following day. The members of the Community Panel did not resign.”

On May 19, Michel applied for a judicial review in relation to the May 17 decision of the Community Panel that its members were not biased against him. The panel then completed its proceedings regarding the petition and, on June 4, Michel was removed from office.

Under the band’s election rules, a byelection must be held within 60 days of a vacancy. The judge had suggested that the byelection be suspended by mutual consent until a decision in a judicial review is held.

No agreement was reached, so the judge said she would set necessary dates if an agreement wasn’t reached by June 15.

The court orders state that an injunction was granted reinstating Michel as chief until his request for a judicial review is heard. And the review will be expedited, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on July 31 in Vancouver.