Elections Nunavut says the territorial election in Iqaluit Centre will continue while the RCMP conduct an investigation into a candidate's eligibility.
Chief electoral officer Sandy Kusugak confirmed Thursday that Nunavut RCMP received an official complaint about Okalik Eegeesiak's eligibility to run in Iqaluit Centre.
Police are investigating to see if Eegeesiak has been a resident of Nunavut for the 12 months prior to election day, Oct. 27, as required by Nunavut's Elections Act.
RCMP have up to six months to decide if Eegeesiak violated the Elections Act.
In the meantime, Elections Nunavut says Eegeesiak and the four other candidates in Iqaluit Centre can keep campaigning.
"It's up to the voters of Iqaluit Centre to make a decision," Patrick Orr, a lawyer for Elections Nunavut, told CBC News on Thursday.
"It's a democratic process, so all we have at the moment is an allegation."
If Eegeesiak — who has declared she is eligible to be a candidate — is found to be ineligible, she could be charged under the Elections Act. She could also be charged with perjury under the Criminal Code.
Orr said Eegeesiak is innocent until proven guilty.
Moving between Iqaluit and Ottawa for work
Reached Thursday afternoon, Eegeesiak said she and her family were shocked and disappointed to hear someone had filed a complaint against her to the RCMP.
Eegeesiak admitted that she has only moved back to Iqaluit full-time less than a year ago, but she still considers herself to be a Nunavut resident.
Eegeesiak said she was born and raised in Iqaluit, and she has a house and post office box there. Her children and grandchildren also live in the Nunavut capital, she said.
"I've been back and forth [to] Ottawa, like, for two or three years," Eegeesiak said, adding that she was moving between the two cities to work for organizations like the Inuit Broadcasting Corp. and Inuit Tapiirit Kanatami.
"Every time I go to Ottawa and every time I come up here, I'm here. I was back and forth all the time," she added.
If the RCMP decide that Eegeesiak has violated the Elections Act, the territory's integrity commissioner could step in and reach a compliance agreement to avoid charges, Orr said.
Such an agreement could call for a fine, or require an apology or community service, he added.