Elected President on 21 January by 105 votes to 55 for Shirley Bonspille and 42 for Lourena Rurina Montour, Serge Otsi Simon returns to the political arena. Grand Chief of Kanesatake for 10 years, the Mohawk had nevertheless announced his retirement after losing in his community’s most recent election in the summer of 2021.
The situation has become untenable and precarious since the arrival of Victor Bonspille, launched on the Serge Otsi Simon line. He tries to give his twin sister all powers of the council [Valerie Bonspille] be responsible for all portfolios.
The fact that another of the Grand Chief’s sisters ran in the by-election proves Victor Bonspille’s desire to put those close to him in power, says Serge Otsi Simon, who officially took office last Monday.
Bonspille takes portfolios from chefs who disagree with him, he says. He works for his personal interests and not for the community.
“I come back for the good of my community. It’s a big challenge, but I’m counting on my experience to shift the priorities beyond the bickering. »
— A quote from Serge Otsi Simon
The new leader speaks of an increasingly toxic atmosphere in the council that is preventing any agreement or agreement. Serge Otsi Simon complains that the democratic system is collapsing in favor of Victor Bonspille, who wants to install a dictatorship. He is unfit and incompetent and I fear the situation is about to get worse.
We know the two men are currently at odds, accusing each other of being responsible for dissolving the Mohawk Council. The fact remains that apart from the great chief’s twin sister, the five chiefs of the council are openly opposed to Victor Bonspille.
As a great chef, I’ve never acted like this, says Serge Otsi Simon. The fact remains that I was elected and will advance the issues that are important to my community.
Serge Otsi Simon in the crosshairs of the great chef
The Mohawk Council faces a serious internal crisis. Elected Grand Chief last August with a promise to bring positive change to his community by getting Kanesatake back on track, Victor Bonspille now faces a real uprising.
Reached by phone, the Grand Chief flatly denied the allegations and was gloomy about Serge Otsi Simon’s arrival at the council.
It will make the already unhealthy situation even worse, he says. As supreme chief, he acted narcissistically without ever consulting the community’s opinion. He is partly responsible for the current situation.
what she [chefs du conseil] “I don’t appreciate turning to members of the community because they’ve decided to block the council’s work,” he continues.
“My job is to update my community on what is happening and make sure the council is working for the good of all. The bosses don’t appreciate my transparency. »
— A quote from Le Grand Chef Victor Bonspille
For Victor Bonspille, the unruly leaders (5 out of 6) try to stop him from working, blocking every decision. Although he claims to run the day-to-day business, important decisions remain at a standstill. Apart from my sister, the council leaders have personal “agenda” and that’s not good for the community, he claims.
Last September, the media reported violent arguments between him and his twin sister, cook Valerie Bonspille, on the one hand, and the other council members on the other.
The SQ confirmed the police intervention and stated that an investigation was ongoing. I hope that those responsible will be prosecuted, says Victor Bonspille.
For his part, one of the Council Presidents, Brant Etienne, continues to accuse Victor Bonspille of acting in an authoritarian manner, without taking into account the positions and opinions of his advisers.
Nothing has moved in the right direction except for the arrival of Serge Simon, he says in an interview. He prevented the election of the Grand Chief’s sister, and that’s very good news for democracy in Kanesatake.
Chief Etienne says he avoids meeting with the Grand Chief during meetings so as not to aggravate the situation. We have a serious problem and I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, he concludes.