By Marc Lalonde
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The three candidates running to replace former Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Chief Alan John Rice are all passionate about the community and hope their experiences and passions can help Kahnawake continue to move forward with them as part of Council.
The by-election will be held Saturday at Karonhianonhnha Tsi Ionterihwaienstahkhwa school from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wahiio Delisle is a 44-year-old entrepreneur and community activist. He explained that working at his family’s store and his proximity to elders and community leaders makes him a natural to step in and replace Rice.
“For me, it was always something I saw and my motivation is always something that was rooted into me as a child. I started working in my family’s store on Highway 138 and a lot of public figures and community leaders came in and I would listen to them and that’s where my interest grew,” Delisle said.
Since the death of his grandfather Andrew Delisle, and the death of former Grand Chief Joe Norton in the last few years, Delisle said, his interest in public service started growing.
“Our community needs me. I can be of service on the organizational process and I have a lot of experience on socio-political issues. I don’t think Council is doing a bad job; just the opposite,” he said, “but I can definitely contribute.”
Stephen Angus McComber is 66 and works for Corrections Canada.
The self-described “seed-saver,” said his main platform is food security and ensuring renewable access to food sources in perpetuity.
“I think it’s the most important thing that we can do as people and it’s something I’ve learned a lot about,” McComber said. “I’ve travelled to conferences across North America and it’s something that I think has a lot of importance,” he said, adding that the community can also benefit from his knowledge as an elder, as well as his experience at Corrections Canada.
“Definitely,” he said. “I think that I have learned a lot of my 17 years there about how to work as a team and work toward a greater goal. That teamwork is something I will be able to bring to Council if I am elected,” McComber said.
The third candidate is David A. Diabo. Diabo has had a long career in the area of emergency management, and believes that experience will benefit the community.
“I’ve worked extensively in the area of emergency management for the Assembly of First Nations and I believe that experience will help do a lot of good for the community, in terms of emergency management, resilience and community safety. I believe I can do a lot of good in the realm of public safety for Kahnawake,” he said.
“I’ve worked with a great many communities across Canada in all areas of emergency management,” he said, mentioning border crossing, rights of First Nations peoples, and food security as other issues facing the community.
“I believe I have the right tools to perform in a Council Chief’s job. Education, experience, and skills are all requirements for this job. I believe that there is no learning on the job. You need to come to the job with the appropriate skills and tools.
Kahnawake is expecting this,” Diabo said.
Marc Lalonde is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with IORI:WASE. The LJI is a federally funded program. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.