Okalik team defends fundraising letter to government staff
Officials with Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik's re-election team are defending a letter seeking donations from some senior government staff.
Okalik, who is running against Iqaluit Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik in the Iqaluit West constituency, remains premier at least until after Monday's election, when the newly elected MLAs will hold a leadership forum to choose a cabinet and premier.
If re-elected, Okalik is expected to seek a third term as premier in the leadership forum, which usually takes place two to three weeks after the vote.
The one-page fundraising letter, obtained by CBC News, was sent to the home addresses of some top-level staff in the territorial government and Crown corporations.
"As a fellow leader in the development and implementation of sound public policy, the Re-Elect Paul Okalik Campaign is asking for your financial support to help Paul continue the job you have both worked so hard to complete," the letter reads in part.
"Paul is counting on your tax-deductible donation of $500, $750 or $1,000 to continue working on behalf of Nunavut."
Official agent Nadia Ciccone, who signed the letter, told CBC News that the campaign team has done nothing wrong by sending it.
"In terms of sending to one individual or another, everything we've done is totally legitimate, it's all in the [Nunavut] Election Act," Ciccone told CBC News.
"If somebody has a problem with it, they should go back to the Election Act and read it."
As the premier appoints and oversees senior government staff, some people have raised concerns about Okalik's request for donations. However, no one who received letters wanted to be interviewed on the record.
Commissioner will do review if requested
Ciccone said her team has done nothing wrong, since letters have been sent to many people.
"We've sent fundraising letters out to many, many different people, companies, sources, and we've raised lots of money," she said. "We've been very successful, so it's been very great."
Norman Pickell, Nunavut's integrity commissioner, said a review of Okalik's fundraising letter would fall under his mandate, since the premier and cabinet remain in place until the leadership forum.
Pickell said he would only conduct a review if he receives an official request.