It seems I was way off in my election predictions two issues back. Apologies all around to those who placed bets based on said prognostications. And my most heartfelt sorries to Dr. Matthew Coon Come for referring to him as a Bible University drop Out. It appears he did finally receive a diploma from the prestigious River Bible Institute way down in Tampa Florida.
Election Night 2005. I’m drifting in and out of sleep on my cheap couch when the phone rings. A groggy, Yeah? Are you online??, asks the caller. I ask whats happening and he tells me theres a lot of Action.
I log on to Soleica.com, election central, where the results are coming in virtually realtime. Mukash is way ahead. The number from the three largest communities, Mistissini, Chisasibi and Waskaganish, still haven’t come in. The suspense, I can’t take it. Gradually, Nemaska, Waswanipi, and Eastmain trickle in. I start dialing friends and acquaintances, damn the next phone bill, this is important and we analyze the figures. Everyone agrees that Blacksmith is not a factor at all. What was he thinking? Paul Gull is doing surprisingly well, but is definitely not a contender. The race is between Moses and his arch nemesis Matthew Mukash. Every once in a while I log on to the Deputy Grand Chief numbers but I don’t really care, the only story worth following at this point is the fight for the Grand Chiefs office.
Camp Nemiscaus choice for leader appears and they are for Moses. But the percentages barely change, Mukash is still leading. Another phone call; everyone agrees that Mukash will rule Chisasibi and Waskaganish will give Mukash a comfortable lead. Mistissini will probably go for Moses. Most of the numbers will more or less follow the last election rersults. But you never know.
Another phone call comes in from a friend who could care less about who Moses or Mukash were and I have to clarify the situations gravity. “I’ll come over with some beer then,” he offers.
We sit there entranced, in front of my computer screen as I explain the oh so subtle intricacies of Cree politics. “See, the results from the MoCreebec ballot? Thats because Ted pissed them off in the last election. He totally blew them off. Bill Namagoose actually called them outsiders! And these are people from Waskaganish, Eastmain and Wemindji! The results from Ojay?, A total turn around for three years ago.” That might have something to do with all that crap the mining companies left in their territory and the Grand Chief just ignored it. But what do I know.
Midnight is fast approaching and still Mukash is a few horses lengths ahead.
Wemindjis returning officer sends in his count; it shows Moses drawing near, but not near enough. No earth shattering change there, Mukash still has a clear lead.
Yet another phone call from a friend in a downtown Montreal hotel, who actually stands to be affected by the results. “Who’s winning?” “Matthew.”
I give him the website address: http://www.soleica.ca //elections2005 and he quickly calls me back. “I’m waiting for an ethernet cable, what going on?” “I tell him we’re waiting for Waskaganish, Chisasibi, Mistissini and EM-1 to report.”
Waskaganish files and Mukash, as predicted, wins the Skag with a significant margin. Moses’s Wask supporters were obviously slackin off. Only Mistissini, Chisasibi, the potential kingmakers, and EM 1 are left. Chisaibi, most experts have agreed will go for Mukash. Mistissini will probably deny Mukash his required 50 plus one percent. EM 1 is not really a player at this stage.
Closing time at the local bar is dangerously close and preparations are hurriedly made even as the results are updated. Tick tock, tick tock
We can’t wait any longer. The bar, like time, waits for no one. We walk out and the phone rings. Chisasibi has voted overwhelmingly against the good doctor Moses. Mukash has 48 percent of the Cree vote. It is up to Mistissini. It will either be final, with Mukash as Grand Chief or there will be a run off election. Drinks all around, are drunk, for democracy.
My phone rang again in the cacophonous bar. Mistissini has saved Moses but. There will be another vote. We all know it’s about to get dirty.