As the Nunavut Court of Justice prepares to hear arguments Tuesday about former MP Jack Anawak's bid to run in Nunavut's territorial election, Anawak says he has serious questions about how Elections Nunavut handled his case.
Anawak, who is also a former Nunavut MLA, was barred from running in this month's territorial election because he had not been a resident there for the 12 consecutive months prior to election day, Oct. 27.
On Oct. 7, Nunavut court Justice Earl Johnson upheld Elections Nunavut's decision to disqualify Anawak.
But the case is not over. Johnson said that on Tuesday, he would hear Anawak's argument that the 12-month residency requirement in the Nunavut Elections Act violates his charter rights.
Anawak told CBC News, however, that he has other issues with Elections Nunavut. Its staff raised questions about his eligibility as soon as he brought in his declaration of candidacy to the returning office in Repulse Bay on the morning of Sept. 26, the deadline for all candidates to file their papers.
Anawak said he wondered if his application was dealt with professionally, given "the rapidity of the way the questioning of my residency was given to me," he said in an interview Thursday.
He said their response also raised questions about elections officials "talking to my children in the past year" about the length of his residency. "[They] really are not always the first means of information and therefore [it] was secondhand."
Elections Nunavut defends its decision on Anawak's case. Officials said that Anawak is a high-profile person in Nunavut, so people had known he was going to run.
That was why the electoral officer was ready to deal with questions about his residency right away, they added.