I loved the elections for all the booze brought in by the people who wanted the chiefs job or councilors position. When it was my turn to run, I used every trick Id learned to get elected as band councilor. I had a lot of tactics. Once I went out for the Liberal leadership convention when Len Sterling was elected leader. I quickly imitated the use of campaign buttons in the next band council election. I ordered the buttons and distributed them to my supporters. I once wore the campaign buttons as earrings when I was drunk and crazy at a party. I did it to get votes and laughs, but you can imagine how I felt the following morning.
The thrills and excitement lasted until I turned sober at the age of 29. After 17 years, I reached a point where I felt guilt and shame that I was serving only my own self-interest. I could see my own people struggling to survive on $500 a month on welfare for a family of five. Yet some elected leaders wouldnt even attend meetings unless they received an honorarium of $500 a day. It began to keep me awake at night. When we attended outside meetings, we received a per diem of $60 a day for expenses. We would stay for a number of days to get the full amount. I once took my wife to Halifax for a quick holiday. We checked into a nice hotel. After a few days, she told me that no wonder we elected leaders loved to travel all the time. This was another stab to my inner soul. There we were, staying in five-star hotels, while our own people didnt even have water and sewer in their homes. It hit my conscience hard. It was time to quit this imaginary life.
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