Q: What is “ratification”?
Ratification means to vote or agree on something.
Q: What is a ratification procedure?
It is the process used for voting on a decision or issue. Some parts of a ratification procedure include the rules on voting day, how to vote, when to vote, who gets to vote, the types of technology used, an appeals process and the reporting required.
Q: What will our ratification procedure look like?
This is yet to be decided. The introductory work on ratification started in summer 2013. The Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (KMKNO), on behalf of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs, intends to start engagement with community members and band councils in winter 2014. It is important that the ratification procedure be community-based.
Q: What does community-based mean?
This procedure is not intended to mirror the western bureaucratic model used by Aboriginal Affairs – it has to reflect Mi’kmaq culture, traditions and opinions, and it must be something that is supported by the Assembly and community members. This procedure will be developed based on the input and guidance of the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia.
Q: Who gets to vote?
The procedure will be designed so that every eligible Mi’kmaw of Nova Scotia has a vote. The criterion for voter eligibility needs to be determined in the design and development phase through engagement with community members.
Q: When will this procedure be completed?
The goal is to have the procedure developed in 2014-2015. Community engagement and input is critical to the development of this procedure and we will not push the completion of a procedure until the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia feel comfortable to move forward.
Q: What will the ratification procedure be used for?
It could be used for any potential decision, issue or agreement that comes out of the Made-in-Nova Scotia Process. We are being proactive and looking to the future – we are developing this procedure in advance, knowing that its development will take some time and we do not want to be pushed by any timelines created by the Crown. We want to have the time to properly develop a procedure that satisfies the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia.
The procedure can be used by any of the departments at KMKNO to get formal feedback from community members on issues. The first potential vote may be on citizenship.
Q: How does a vote get passed?
Through engagement with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia, it will be determined the amount of votes needed for a decision to be passed. Commonly “50% + 1” is used in ratification, but that does not necessarily mean it is the preferred option by the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia.
Q: So what are you doing?
Our ratification policy analyst is conducting research and will soon be engaging with band councils and communities for support in the research and later in the actual development and drafting of ratification procedural guidelines.
Q: How will KMKNO engage?
Meetings with band councils, community visits, focus groups and a drafting committee are some of the potential options we are considering. We are still in our research and planning stage and will make sure to provide information to band councils and community members as soon as we are ready to engage.
Q: How come I am just finding out?
Ratification research started over the summer and the project is in its starting phase. Even though we are not yet ready to engage with the community, KMKNO feels it is important to create awareness and be transparent about the work we plan to do.
Q: How can I get involved?
Please participate in any engagement sessions. We encourage feedback and participation. For more information contact our Communications department and/or the Ratification Policy Analyst.