Nunavut election rules challenged by national group

Alberta-based Manitok Thompson was told she can't express her opinion or support Nunavut candidates on social media. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says Elections Nunavut may be in breach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Canada's biggest civil liberties watchdog is concerned by Nunavut election rules that prohibits people outside the territory from expressing their support for individual candidates. 1:40

Manitok Thompson is a former member of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly. She lives in Alberta but, still has ties to Nunavut.

Thompson says she was informed by Elections Nunavut that she cannot express opinions or support Nunavut candidates using social media, because she lives outside of the territory. It's one of the new changes to the elections act, introduced earlier this year. But Thompson disagrees with that rule. 

"You can't be censored based on your residency," Thompson says, "because you can live anywhere and seek employment anywhere in Canada as a Canadian."

Thompson complained to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association about the situation, and the association agreed there's a problem, and possibly a breach the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Cara Zwibelis with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. She's concerned that Elections Nunavut is taking an overly broad interpretation of the elections act.

The act explicitly states that "any individual who is not resident in Nunavut... shall not campaign in an election." 

But Zwibel points out that the Act goes on to say that the rule "doesn't prohibit a person from merely declaring support for a candidate or making general statements on an issue of public policy or personally displaying campaign material as long as those things are done in good faith not done to try to manipulate or oppress voters."

In a letter to Elections Nunavut, the Association is urging the Chief Electoral Officer to reconsider her position. The group wants her to clarify that general support for candidates will not be pursued as an offence by the RCMP.

Elections Nunavut told CBC it's consulting its lawyer for advice.

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