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Political newcomer elected chief of Thessalon First Nation

'To bring change to the community, that was my big reason for running': Joseph Wabigwan chosen as chief in Nov. 17 election
Joseph Wabigwan has been elected chief of Thessalon First Nation following Nov. 17 band elections.

A newcomer to politics has been elected to lead Thessalon First Nation. 

Joseph Wabigwan was elected chief of his community during the Nov. 17 election, defeating former chief Edward Boulrice by a margin of 64 votes in a four-way race to lead the small First Nation east of Sault Ste. Marie. 

Boulrice had previously served two consecutive terms as chief. Terms in office in Thessalon First Nation are three years in duration under the community’s custom election code.

Despite his lack of experience in politics, Wabigwan told SooToday he wanted to run for chief in order to see all band members being treated “fair and equal."   

“To bring change to the community, that was my big reason for running,” he said during a telephone interview Wednesday. 

Lisa Boulrice, Roxanne Boulrice, Mary Ann Giguere, Robert Simon Sr. and Robert Simon Jr. were elected to seats on council.  

Thessalon First Nation has a total registered population of 1,174, with 1,057 of those band members living off reserve, according to data from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. 

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