CORNER BROOK — Brendan Mitchell has been elected ward councillor for Corner Brook after Tuesday’s first-ever election in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band.
The largest of the nine wards which comprise the new band council, Mitchell earned 401 votes Tuesday, good enough for a comfortable lead over Ron Jesseau’s 211 votes as of press time Tuesday, mail-in and advance ballots excluded.
With a strong business background, he said he’s eager to lend his expertise the new council.
“I’ve always believed I have something to offer Qalipu and the people in the Corner Brook ward,” said Mitchell, a purchasing manager for Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. “It’s a pretty exciting time for us and right now it’s about getting down to the work that has to be done.”
In addition to helping streamline the application process, a priority for Mitchell will be setting up a ward advisory committee for the Corner Brook area, which has several surrounding communities under its umbrella.
“That was an important part of my platform from the beginning,” he said. “Another important piece for me is making sure we can sustain these programs based on the large, growing number of people we have today. The next step for me is to visit the actual communities, hold meetings and find out what people’s needs are and what opportunities are out there as well.”
He called the election “an incredible milestone” and said the leadership is now in place to help set the template for the next three years and beyond for the Qalipu band.
As someone who’s father Jack Mitchell was among the first to organize aboriginal people in Corner Brook in the early 1970’s, he said he’s always been proud of his ancestory and is eager to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“For me that’s important,” he said. “He started something here and hopefully now I can help keep it moving in a very positive, constructive way.”