A referendum to designate a stretch of Birdtail Sioux First Nation land for commercial leasing and business development has failed to pass after a Tuesday vote.
There were 152 no votes to 65 yes votes.
The vote was to be the first step toward the construction of a new multimillion-dollar Canadian National rail spur on the western Manitoba reserve and future plans for the creation of an oil terminal in the heart of Manitoba’s oil country.
But it also marks the first test run of new and controversial legislative changes to the Land Designation sections of the Indian Act that came into effect with the passing of Bill C-45 earlier this year.
The new legal changes make designation easier by eliminating the need to have a majority of the band turn out for the vote.
Birdtail Sioux members will be voting again on Wednesday, for band elections.