'People move on,' Simailak says of Baker Lake re-election bid
Former Nunavut cabinet minister David Simailak, who was found to have violated Nunavut's Integrity Act when he was in office, said he's apologized for his mistakes and wants to represent Baker Lake again in the territory's legislative assembly.
Simailak declared he would be seeking a second term as Baker Lake MLA, despite two reports this year from Nunavut's Integrity Commissioner's office that found Simailak had breached the Integrity Act on numerous occasions.
"People apologize, people are forgiven, and people move on, at least in the Inuit culture," Simailak told CBC News on Tuesday.
"People were encouraging me to run again, both family and other people in Baker Lake, so I'm running again."
In the most recent report, tabled Sept. 10 in the legislative assembly, acting integrity commissioner Norman Pickell found that Simailak had repeatedly breached the territory's Integrity Act between 2005 and 2007.
Pickell found that Simailak, who was finance and economic development minister, violated the conditions of a blind trust, tried to use his influence as a cabinet minister, and put himself in a conflict of interest with regards to some private business interests he had.
An earlier report by then-commissioner Robert Stanbury, filed in January, concluded that Simailak had failed to declare his interests in a company that received loans from the government.
Simailak, who resigned from cabinet in December 2007 when the business interests were revealed, formally apologized to the assembly after both reports were tabled.
"It was three years ago, and I think since those problems, I think my record proves itself," he said of the Integrity Act violations.
Now, Simailak said he's running again because he has some unfinished business — things he wants to do for Baker Lake that he didn't have time to get done.
Abiding by recommendations
Simailak said he is abiding by Pickell's recommendations that he pay a $5,000 fine, as well as deliver a letter to every household in his constituency, acknowledging and apologizing for his actions.
He is up against two challengers in this election campaign: Elijah Amarook and Moses Aupaluktuq.
Residents contacted by CBC News were split in their support for Simailak this time around, with some supporting his re-election bid and some opposing it.
But given the small size of Baker Lake, no one wanted to express their views on the record, at least not until election day.