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Alberta's only Indigenous bencher hopes to offer new perspective

|Written By Geoff Ellwand
Alberta's only Indigenous bencher hopes to offer new perspective
Corie Flett says she sought a place as a bencher because she believes she offers a perspective "that really needed to be included . . . if we are going to seriously attempt to follow the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission."

Corie Flett is a Fort McMurray lawyer and one of 20 lawyers who serve as benchers on the board of directors of the Law Society of Alberta. Flett was elected in 2017 by members of the LSA to represent the north of the province. She is one of nine women on the board and the only Indigenous member.

Flett says neither she nor the LSA can say if she is the first fully Indigenous person to serve as an Alberta bencher, but, at the very least, she must be among the first.

She is a young lawyer, a wife and the mother of three children. At 33, Flett is already a partner with the Fort McMurray firm of Cooper & Company. She says she sought a place as a bencher because she believes she offers a perspective “that really needed to be included . . . if we are going to seriously attempt to follow the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

Flett is of Cree and Dene descent and a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

She is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta. She started in science at U of A, but she says she “decided law would be my path forward. I liked the thought of making a difference.” So, she switched to law, graduating in 2010.

Like all benchers, Flett is cautious about revealing anything that goes on behind closed doors. “I just want to do a good job [and] instill confidence,” she says, “and provide a unique perspective.” One of her major commitments is “bringing the ‘north’ perspective to the table and ensuring it is a voice considered in the conversation.”

Flett is already serving on more than a half-dozen bencher committees including the innovative regulation committee and the education and credentials committee.

She is certain her work with the LSA is important. Flett says she believes actions taken today will have a lasting impact. She calls the LSA “an important part of that puzzle to ensure Aboriginal people have protection and justice.”

As for her priorities while serving as a bencher, Flett says, she wants to focus on the interests of stakeholders, both lawyers and members of the public. She says she aspires to “serve them in a manner which I can be proud of.”

 


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