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Chiefs call for Quesnel mayor Ron Paull’s resignation

Paull refused to resign as mayor, pledging to learn and commit to Indigenous partnership

A contingent of First Nations chiefs, residential school survivors and descendants, and community at large called for the resignation of Quesnel mayor Ron Paull.

Paull refused, saying the problems he is at the centre of are his opportunity to learn and work towards reconciliation.

The controversy stemmed from the mayor’s wife, Pat Morton, distributing and complimenting the book Grave Error, a collection of essays themed on how the residential school system was, in their view, not as bad as modern commentary has made it out to be, and the lack of forensic proof of graves at those sites overrides the claims that children in large numbers died at those schools.

First Nations of the area were upset at Paull’s involvement and follow-up response, saying anything less than utter repudiation of the book’s themes was tantamount to broken trust between Quesnel City Hall and the suffering communities with which the City of Quesnel was purportedly wishing to do business in good faith.

The two First Nations most directly overarching the Quesnel area - Lhtako Dene First Nation and Nazko First Nation - said they would not work with the City of Quesnel on their numerous economic development files if Paull were involved. Chiefs Clifford Lebrun of Lhtako and Leah Stump of Nazko said they would only work with the remaining councillors.

The calls came at the regularly scheduled public meeting of Quesnel council. The regular business of council was deferred to a later date, in deference to this primary agenda item. More than 300 people attended at City Hall, starting with an earlier gathering at the Nazko office two blocks away that was attended by more than 500 people, many of whom marched to the meeting.

The testimonials at the meeting totalled close to two and a half hours of discussion.

More coverage of the elements of the meeting are coming soon to the Quesnel Cariboo Observer website.

READ MORE: Truth and reconciliation rally planned for Quesnel

READ MORE: Widdowson, contributor to the book Grave Error, coming to Quesnel