New chief aims to open communication lines

Opening up communication lines between the band council and community is the number-one mandate for Chuck McPherson, who was elected chief of Couchiching last Wednesday.
McPherson, 45, who beat out former chief Rudy Morrisseau by about 20 votes, said he knew it was going to be a close race.
“Mr. Morrisseau has been in the political game for some time,” said McPherson, who assumes the position of chief on Monday. “He was a very formidable opponent.”
In fact, he admitted had there not been a third candidate for chief, Riley Jourdain, who garnered close to 20 votes, the outcome of the election could have been very different.
But with the election now in the bag, McPherson said he is looking forward to taking on the role of chief again, a position he also held from 1986-1988.
He said his decision to run for chief again came from the fact he wasn’t totally satisfied with the direction the community was going.
“There’s been an absence of monthly band meetings,” he said. “In the past couple of years, they disappeared. That’s what chief and council are elected to do and a number of people thought that was proper for operation.
“[But] a lot of people didn’t think that was proper operation and they elected a change,” he said.
In fact, only two members of the past council, Ed Yerxa and David Bruyere, were re-elected. Shirley Bruyere, Daniel Mainville, Donald Bruyere, and Sara Mainville round out the incoming band council.
McPherson was quite pleased with those elected under him, noting all but one has had some council experience. Plus all of the successful candidates campaigned on the communication issue.
“There has to be a re-establishment of communication lines,” he stressed. “People will know what’s going on and what’s happening so, collectively, we can know what’s going on and get things done.”
Another big mandate for McPherson is erasing the division lines in Couchiching, lines he said were clearly indicated by the closeness of the vote.
“We have to convince those people who supported Mr. Morrisseau we’re there for the benefit of the community, [that] we can do positive things,” McPherson said.
“That will be our big job,” he added. “Hopefully, we can become one community again.”