Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut August 24, 2016 - 4:00 pm

Nunavut women’s group calls Tootoo’s conduct an “abuse of power”

“We expect our elected leaders to respect and model respect for women"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Nunavut MP Hunter Tootoo speaks to constituents in Iqaluit July 27, following a leave he took to enter addictions treatment. (FILE PHOTO)
Nunavut MP Hunter Tootoo speaks to constituents in Iqaluit July 27, following a leave he took to enter addictions treatment. (FILE PHOTO)

A Nunavut women’s group has spoken out against Hunter Tootoo’s conduct, calling the now-independent MP’s recent behaviour an “abuse of power.”

Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women broke a weeks-long silence among many organizations in the territory, issuing a release Aug. 24, which denounces the workplace relationship Tootoo admitted to engaging in earlier this year.

Elected as Liberal MP for Nunavut last fall, Tootoo resigned as minister of Fisheries and Oceans and from the Liberal caucus this past May to attend addictions treatment.

Upon his return two months later, the MP admitted to an “inappropriate relationship” with a female staff member of his Ottawa office.

Qulliit said it supported Tootoo’s road to recovery, particularly in a region where treatment is hard to come by.

But addiction does not excuse the abuse of power Tootoo engaged in when he pursued that workplace relationship, Qulliit said in the release.

“As with all employer/employee relationships, he should have removed himself from his position of power to pursue this relationship,” Qulliit said.

“We expect our elected leaders to respect and model respect for women, and to not exercise male privilege over their female staff.”

Qulliit said it recommends a review of the ethics code or code of conduct for elected leaders at both the federal and territorial levels of government, to encourage zero tolerance for gender-based abuses of power.

Qulliit, an advisory council of women appointed by the territory’s of Nunavut Status of Women, is currently chaired by Elisapie Sheutiapik.

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada declined to comment on the Tootoo affair, although the organization said it denounced discrimination against women in the workplace.

  QNSWC Statement Tootoo by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd

 

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