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The Prince Albert Daily Herald, Monday January 28, 2008

Disgruntled Liberals meet
Want appointment rescinded

by Tara Campbell

A group of disgruntled Liberal party members are continuing to challenge Stephane Dion after he handpicked the party's nominee for an upcoming byelection in northern Saskatchewan.

Dion appointed former provincial NDP cabinet member Joan Beatty earlier this month, causing uproar with the Liberal party in the riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River.

"We are not going to let people in Ottawa override our democratic right," said Chief Marcel Head of Shoal Lake First Nation, who's been leading the fight against Dion's appointment. "This meeting today is to elect a new executive committee ... we want to see the nomination process continue ... we will not be dictated to."

On Saturday afternoon a crowd of approximately 100 people, mainly Liberal party members, gathered in Christopher Lake, a town 40 kilometres north of Prince Albert. Some came from as far away as Saskatoon in an effort to see that Dion rescinds the Beatty appointment.

"I'm here because this is infringing on our democratic right," said Peter Bishop, who is from northern Saskatchewan and is now living in Saskatoon. "They (the federal Liberal party) can't do this to its members."

The Liberal constitution allows for Dion to make such an appointment, but among many members of the party there is a feeling that he has gone too far.

"People are saying enough is enough," said Jim Sinclair, who's widely involved in issues surround northern Saskatchewan communities.

"People are sick of having decisions made for them."

The meeting's attendees elected Head as the new president of the riding's executive committee, which is yet to be made official by the Liberal party.

The newly elected executive committee agreed to send a letter to the Liberal party to inform them of the of the newly elected committee and to "demand" that the Liberal party set a date to select a nominee before the March 17 byelection.

David Orchard, who has been running as candidate for the nomination in the Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River riding, was at the meeting on Saturday, but declined comment.

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