South Baffin MLA resigns from cabinet
Fred Schell stepped down before MLAs voted on motion to remove him
South Baffin MLA Fred Schell resigned from cabinet Monday afternoon at Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly.
Members of the Legislative Assembly were set to vote on a motion to remove Schell from cabinet but they never got the chance.
After a lengthy statement, Schell stepped down before the vote could be taken.
In a report tabled to the legislative assembly last week, the Integrity Commission found Schell had violated the Integrity Act in six out of nine accusations against him.
For the first time since the report was tabled, Schell spoke about his violations on Monday.
Schell said he accepts the findings of the report. But he also said he was forthcoming with all of his business matters.
Integrity Commissioner Norman Pickell said Schell had a conversation about his own business interests with the president of the Nunavut Housing Corporation and contacted another housing official about his personal affairs.
Pickell also found Schell made inappropriate inquiries about two Nunavut government employees to further his own private interests. In addition, Pickell said Schell gave false evidence at the hearing examining his conduct.
Pickell recommended that Schell pay a fine of $10,000 and apologize in the legislature for his conduct. MLAs voted unanimously today to accept those recommendations. Schell abstained.
Pickell did not recommend suspending Schell from the legislature, saying that would only punish his constituents.
Schell questions premier’s leadership
Schell had harsh words for Premier Eva Aariak on Monday, saying he was blindsided and was told to resign without knowing what he did wrong.
The premier stripped him of all his portfolios in March, alleging Schell had abused his power as a cabinet minister. Schell had been in charge of Human Resources and was responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corp.
Schell questioned the premier's leadership and how the Integrity Commission’s investigation was handled. The probe was supposed to take 90 days, but took more than seven months.
After his resignation, Schell refused to speak to reporters.